The recently departed Conte Candoli was a trumpeter who sounded equally at home playing in big bands or small groups. His latest, and quite possibly his final recording, Candoli Live (Nagel-Heyer), was made just a year and a half before he died of cancer in December of 2001. Yet Candoli sounds totally in control with all his facility and prowess intact. A talented trio of German musicians, including pianist Bernhard Pichl, bassist Martin Zenker and drummer Rick Hollander, backs him. Candoli plays aggressively with a big, wide sound on “I Dig Fig,” and tips his hat to Dizzy on an incandescent “There Is No Greater Love.” He trades fours while playing a muted samba on “Black Orpheus” (aka “Manha de Carnaval”), and plays around with dissonance on the head of “Just Friends.” After a lifetime of trumpet battles, Candoli showed no signs of coasting, even at the end. He went out on top showing his strength, sensitivity and versatility, and demonstrating once again why he was one of the most respected trumpeters in jazz.