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Various Artists: Burning for Buddy, Volume 2

This second volume of a large-scale tribute to the work of one of jazz’ most irascible, irrepressible figures boasts a stellar cast, including the Buddy Rich Big Band featuring Steve Marcus and a host of guest drummers the likes of Bill Bruford, Steve Gadd, David Garibaldi, Joe Morello, Neil Peart, Simon Phillips, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Steve Smith and Dave Weckl.

Powered by Steve Smith, “Moment’s Notice” gets the program off to a typically rollicking Richesque start and features a killer alto solo, superb ensemble writing, and a tight rendering. “Basically Blues” provides the obligatory 12-bar workout and finds Steve Gadd flawlessly laying down the time and providing some choice fills, while Bill Bruford grooves mightily on “Willowcrest,” a bright-tempoed minor blues in 6/8. The excitement continues with “Take The ‘A’ Train,” piloted by Joe Morello in his typically open-ended fashion, and “One O’Clock Jump,” with some tasty piano by Jon Werking and drum duties dispatched by Neil Peart, who produced the project. Other highlights include “Groovin’ Hard” (Garibaldi), “Goodbye Yesterday” (Phillips), and “Time Check” (Weckl).

In addition to demonstrating that the talents of drummers like Peart, Simon, and Bruford (of Rush, the Who, and Yes, respectively) run much deeper than stadium rock, Burning also reveals Rich’s far-reaching influence. Focusing on the traditional side of Rich’s repertoire, this heartfelt tribute cooks from beginning to end.

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