Bosnian trumpeter, composer, and general jazz hero Dusko Goykovich is an anomaly among his Eastern European countrymen. Far from the madding crowd of avant-guardists, Goykovich has his roots deeply sunk into the post-bop, early modalism of early-'60s jazz, and the lyrical, melodic improvisational invention of Paul Desmond and Bill Evans. With a band that includes pianist Kenny Drew, bassist Jimmy Woode, and drummer Al Levitt, Goykovich penned six of the set's ten tunes, and they are easily the best stuff here. His gorgeous bossa ballad, "Inga," comes from an A minor motif and works horizontally, bringing the entire range of chromatic color into its off-key, metrically resilient structure. The Drew and Goykovich solos complement each other nicely, trailing from modal into bossa and samba patterns before weaving each other into a patchwork quilt of matching arpeggios. Of the covers, Oscar Pettiford's "Blues in the Closet" is in the pocket funky. As greasy as its name, Goykovich allows the melody line instigated by Woode to settle in before kicking in to a stomping hard bop blues reminiscent of a Hank Mobley or Art Blakey thematic feel. Drew shines here as his ostinato walks the bar all over the tune, punching deck at every sharp and turning the blues riff around on a dime. Goykovich trusses the piano and then ventures on his won into stuttering skein of clipped bop phrases, scattering eighth notes all over the scale. As the pair come together to approach the melody for the send off, they square off harmonically, teetering on the edge of disaster only to sweep it all under the rug at check out time. It's a breathless ride, full of stops, starts, and surprises, and is indicative of not only how well this band plays together, but how well their leader can hold court and remain a part of the ensemble. Celebration is a disc that lives up to its lofty title.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek