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Various Artists: With Malice Toward None: The Music of Tom McIntosh

Tom McIntosh doesn’t take one friggin’ solo on his latest release, With Malice Toward None (IPO). Perhaps the explanation lies in the CD’s subtitle: The Music of Tom McIntosh. At the moment, the manuscript pen is what he plays best. Admittedly his playing chops are rusty from 35 years of film and TV scoring, arranging and teaching. Regarding the latter, it must have been gratifying to see pianist Helen Sung occasionally spelling the likes of Roger Kellaway and Kenny Barron. Sung studied with McIntosh at the New England Conservatory. But what could be more gratifying than the realization that at age 76, McIntosh was cutting his first album as a leader! For the occasion he was surrounded by appropriate talent-James Moody, Benny Golson, Jimmy Owens, Richard Davis and many others-who allowed McIntosh to sprinkle his trademark voicings. The breakdown of the nine tracks finds four new McIntosh charts, three evergreens and two standards. Highlights: a gutsy tenor duel between Moody and Golson on “I’m Out, No Hating” and, above all, the astonishing pianistics displayed by Barron and Kellaway on “Billie’s Bounce.”

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