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Mike Holober: Balancing Act

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Judging from his stellar work with the WDR Big Band, HR Big Band, Gotham Jazz Orchestra and several other large ensembles, pianist-composer-arranger Mike Holober is well practiced in the art of weighing disparate musical parts to achieve a balanced whole. Now, with his first album as leader in six years, he applies those skills to an octet with dazzling results. It is an ensemble filled with headliners, including vocalist Kate McGarry, trumpeter Marvin Stamm, saxophonist Dick Oatts and bassist John Hébert, and Holober provides each plenty of room to stretch out. Yet all are less interested in grandstanding than in contributing to the greater good.

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