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Craig Bailey-Tim Armacost Brooklyn Big Band: Live at Sweet Rhythm

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The 17-piece Brooklyn Big Band, formed in 2000, is heavy on saxophone players, starting with its leaders, Craig Bailey (alto and flute) and Tim Armacost (tenor and clarinet). As displayed on this debut recording, Bailey and Armacost’s conception is to explore contemporary possibilities for the big band, in part by reviewing the past. The unsigned liner notes say of the disc’s longest track, “Take the Coltrane,” “This performance encapsulates a lot of what the group is trying to achieve,” which might be summarized as trying to answer the musical question, “What would Duke Ellington and His Orchestra have sounded like if John Coltrane had been their saxophonist in the 1960s?” “Take the Coltrane” is generously credited to Ellington as composer (notwithstanding that “Take the ‘A’ Train” was written by Billy Strayhorn), and while there isn’t much Ellington in it, it does attempt to reinterpret mature Coltrane in a big-band context.

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