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Michael Feinstein/Maynard Ferguson Big Band: Big City Rhythms

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Feinstein and Ferguson-what an unexpected combination, but it mostly works. Vocalist-pianist Michael Feinstein is known for performing Broadway hits and The Great American Songbook (he was Ira Gershwin’s assistant for six years). So this is a new musical dimension, a big band led and amply enriched by Maynard Ferguson’s still-thrilling horns, along with guest trumpeter Bobby Shew.

Most of the 16 songs predictably are pretty ones, such as Harold Arlen’s “The Man That Got Away,” Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You” and Gus Kahn’s “The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else.” But there are other charts that swing hard, and the original MF always does. I’d prefer the omission of the jaded “New York, New York” (but Feinstein just opened a club at The Regency) and the inclusion of insightful liner notes instead of a tri-fold pin-up. Those who favor Harry Connick, Jr. will take to Feinstein, but fervent Ferguson fans might want to skip this one.