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Vic Lewis West Coast All Stars: With Love to Gerry

The English bandleader Vic Lewis first recorded a big-band album of Gerry “Jeru” Mulligan’s music in 1953. Lewis always wanted to return to the studios for more of same, but time and commitments intervened on both sides of the pond. So what we have now is a swinging love paean to Mulligan by the cream of the West Coast crop. And the creme de la creme oozes out of Andy Martin’s trombone: the opening and closing tracks are versions of Mulligan’s “Noblesse,” both arranged by Gordon Goodwin and both utilizing a five-part trombone choir comprised of the over-dubbed Martin. Those poetic changes give you some insight into the fertile mind of Jeru. The phrasing lends insight into Martin’s consistency and skills.

This project is all highlights. Consider the personnel: a compatible front line of Bob Summers, trumpet; Martin and Bob McChesney, trombones; backed by Christian Jacob, piano; Trey Henry, bass; and Ray Brinker, drums. Consider some of the arrangers: Bill Holman, Bob Brookmeyer, Manny Albam.

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