By the time of this recording, the Contraband was much deservedly becoming a bit of a minor fixture on the Dutch jazz scene. Most of this CD is devoted to the three-part "De Ruyter Suyte," a stunning piece of innovative big band work featuring - in part - the invigorating clarinet work of Theo Jörgensmann. The group swings with abandon, sparks flying, rhythms shifting, and tempos changing at the drop of a coin. While the roots are clearly "in the tradition, " leader van Manen knows how to incorporate free elements to bring it all up to date in an accessible manner. The wealth of strong solos permeates, with trombonist Chris Abelen a particular standout. The joy of jazz runs through, while stodginess is thrown to the wind. Anyone who thinks the big bands are dead ought to hear this one!
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy