Barrett Deems Big Band

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Barrett Deems, 81 at the time of this recording, will always be best known for his stint with the Louis Armstrong All-Stars in the 1950s. After settling in Chicago, the drummer became the leader of a top-notch jazz orchestra which made its recording debut on this Delmark release. Deems, whose musical role model is Buddy Rich, is in top form throughout the set, which is a bit surprising considering his shaky health at the time. The performances (mostly veteran standards) are usually hard-driving and always swing. The many concise solos are unfortunately unidentified; trumpeter Brad Goode is the only one of the sidemen really known outside of Chicago, although vibraphonist Duane Thamm is clearly a strong asset to the 18-piece band. Few surprises occur during this conventional date, but the music is very enjoyable and makes one aware of some of the many musical talents that reside in Chicago.

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