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The Don Menza Big Band: Menza Lines

Many listeners know Don Menza only as the outstanding tenor-saxophone soloist on Buddy Rich’s Channel One Suite. Others know of his vast experience with various combos and with big bands like those of Maynard Ferguson and Stan Kenton. Not so commonly known is that Menza is also a fine composer and arranger. But Menza Lines, his second album as a leader (and the first since 1981), shows what he can do in that arena. As he put it himself, “There’s no gimmicks and no submissions to current trends or popular styles.” Indeed, his straightahead writing reflects the influence of, among other Menza favorites, the great Bill Holman. For this live 2004 Los Angeles performance, Menza enlisted the services of some of the area’s key players.

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