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The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra: Thad Jones Legacy

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Thirty-three years after its first performance at the Village Vanguard under the name of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra, today’s version of that inspired group continues to wield the banner of big band excellence with just as much spirit and imagination as it had a generation ago. Here, in tribute to one of its two co-founders, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra performs nine of Jones’ arrangements, all but one of which, Jerome Richardson’s “Groove Merchant,” are also of his own compositions as well. Jones’ softer side is shown on the gently swinging waltz, “Quiet Lady,” which spotlights pianist Jim McNeely, baritonist Gary Smulyan and trumpeter Scott Wendholt; “Yours and Mine,” a balladic feature for tenorman Rich Perry; and the Ellingtonian-tinged “All My Yesterdays,” with McNeely, Dick Oatts’ Hodges-like alto and Ralph LaLama’s tenor center stage.

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