Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra East

Diamonds for Nat

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At the time this recording was made, trombonist Scott Whitfield had successfully relocated to the West Coast, where he was leading his big band. He went back to New York City to record this one, and it features some major players from the local scene. This is a tribute album, dedicated to the music of trumpeter Nat Adderley, who was a major influence on the trombonist, so much so that only Adderley's photo appears on the cover of the CD. Nonetheless, Whitfield's stamp is everywhere. Not only did he arrange all the tunes for the big band and write the liner notes, but he also solos on four of the nine numbers, though he generously shares time with others. As to be expected, Whitfield's writing is tight, detailed, and conservative, and the band appears comfortable with the arrangements, performing the pieces nearly flawlessly. While it does not break any new ground, the recording showcases Whitfield's fine writing and the impressive solos of the trombonist and others in the band. It also reminds you of the strong composing skills of Nat Adderley, his most notable tunes being "Work Song" and "Jive Samba." Whitfield is outstanding on trombone on his showcase, "Roses for Your Pillow," where he performs fluidly, though modestly, with superb range. The star-studded band also features a good solo from trombonist Peter McGuiness on "Little Boy with the Sad Eyes," several strong contributions from Dave Schumacher on baritone saxophone, a couple of engaging solos from Wayne Coniglio on bass trombone, and consistently creative work from the trumpet section, including Mike Hackett, Mike Ponella, and "guest" Marvin Stamm. This is a pleasant album all the way around, and Whitfield does a good job of translating to a large ensemble tunes that are usually performed by small groups. In doing so, Whitfield helps to invigorate the tradition of the large jazz ensemble and in the process recognize one of the legends of the jazz tradition.

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