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Dennis DiBlasio: Rhino

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The grossly underrated baritone saxophonist from New Jersey and former musical director for Maynard Ferguson’s band takes the eclectic route on his seventh project as a leader, flashing prodigious chops on both bari and flute along the way. Drummer Jim Miller, pianist Jim Ridl and bassist Darryl Hall (a 1996 Monk Competition winner for bass players) offer able support and some superb solos of their own, making for an exceptionally strong band outing.

They come out of the chute with their wheels screeching on the boppish burner “Fah-getta-boutit,” a suitable showcase for DiBlasio’s forcefully swinging approach to the bari. He breaks out the flute on “Makin’ Whoopee,” turning the melody over to bassist Hall, then takes a more reflective approach to the big horn on his own heartfelt tribute to his late mother, “Graceful Exit.”

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