This album captures an electrifying evening at the John Birks Gillespie Auditorium in the NYC Baha’i Center. There is a feeling of elation in the performances. Pianist Mike Longo wrote all the big-band arrangements, and they range from his atmospheric originals “Afro Desia” and “Inner City Hues” to the jazz standards “Whisper Not” and “Wee.” Deep-voiced vocalist Ira Hawkins sings “I’m Old Fashioned” (backed by the trio of Longo, bassist Tom Hubbard and drummer Mike Campenni), “Over the Rainbow” and “Muddy Water” (backed by the full band). Longo’s writing is strongly rhythmic; you wouldn’t expect otherwise from someone who was once a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s quintet. He elicits stirring dynamics and fills by Campenni.
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