Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra

20 Years at the Village Vanguard

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The Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra (originally co-led by Thad Jones) celebrated its 20th anniversary with this Atlantic album, one of its very few major-label releases. Although two of Jones'arrangements are on this set ("All of Me" and "Interloper"), the big band had changed quite a bit since his defection in 1979, becoming younger (it was originally an all-star group), less dependent on one arranger, and a bit more influenced by classical music while still swinging. The 1985 version of the band included such notable players as pianist Kenny Werner, altoist Dick Oatts,and both Joe Lovano and Ralph Lalama on tenors, but it was more of a team effort without any one player dominating. Excellent modern big-and music.

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