Mel Lewis

Live in Montreux: Mel Lewis Plays Herbie Hancock

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The 1980 version of the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra performs five Herbie Hancock tunes arranged by Bob Mintzer, quite an assignment for the young tenor saxophonist, who was not even a member of the big band. Mintzer's reworkings of such tunes as "Dolphin Dance" and "Speak Like a Child" are fresh and unpredictable. Such soloists are featured as pianist Jim McNeely, altoist Dick Oatts, future tenor great Joe Lovano (heard on "Eye of the Hurricane"), and trumpeter Earl Gardner; also in the band at the time (but not featured) is altoist Steve Coleman. It is a pity that this music (originally put out on the European MPS label and made available domestically by the now-defunct Pausa label) is difficult to find.