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The Peter Herbolzheimer Orchestra: Toots Suite

There are no harmonicas on this 13-track CD, so why is it called Toots Suite? Well, it’s not for Toots Thielemans. In 1969 Herbolzheimer founded his internationally successful Rhythm Combination & Brass. With this album, his American debut, Herbolzheimer thought, you know, brass: toot, toot. Don’t make me explain it. Fortunately, his music is self-explanatory, and quite good if you’re into retro, big-band instrumentals.

Herbolzheimer hasn’t strayed too far from some of the original charts, such as Billy May’s “Fat Man Boogie,” Woody Herman’s “Early Autumn” and Count Basie’s “Jumpin’ at the Woodside.” There’s a track called “New York Special” that is a mild reworking of Neal Hefti’s “Li’l Darlin’,” and Herbolzheimer has the nerve to affix the trademark Basie postscript.

No credits are given for soloists, and while John Clayton is listed among three bassists, there are no clues as to which track(s) he plays on. And in case you give a toot, the 20-piece band is disciplined and knows how to swing.

Originally Published