Night & Day celebrates the return of Peter Petersen's dynamic Collection Jazz Orchestra to the recording studio after a seven-year hiatus. This is far too long an absence for this aggregation, one of the leading champions of big-band music today. This session is a sophisticated, swinging affair by a regular big-band ensemble augmented by French horns. The album consists of 11 standards and originals, and features arrangements by composer/pianist Dave Zoller, the inestimable Sammy Nestico, Mike Abene, and John Oddo, among others. The kickoff tune, the classic Sir Charles Thompson/Illinois Jacquet-composed "Robbins Nest," sets the musical table for the many tasty musical morsels that follow. The title tune, "Night and Day," is a fresh, rousing rendition of Cole Porter's masterpiece. Scott Whitfield's arrangement of "The More I See You" takes on a modernistic hue and features a lengthy, intricate solo by guitarist Chris DeRose. "Dr. Bob" is one of Zoller's more inventive compositions and is enhanced by a Chris Seiter trombone solo. Things get a bit syncopated on a unique arrangement of "East of the Sun," with Randy Lee (on both alto and flute) and Zoller taking on the solo chores; Zoller recalls "Holiday for Strings" during one of his solos on this almost eight-minute exploration of the Brooks Bowman tune. The sax section takes center stage on "Round Midnight," gliding in and out with the ubiquitous Lee. Whitfield's "Check It Out" is a vehicle for solos by several members of the band, but it's Jeff Bair's boppish tenor that takes honors on this one. Petersen allots himself some solo space on a poignant offering of "My Romance," where he's joined by Jack Evans' high-powered trumpet. The blues are acknowledged on "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You," with John Adams going back and forth with Zoller's tinkling piano. The arrangements not only set off the fine solos throughout, but the high-caliber ensemble work as well, a characteristic of earlier recordings of Petersen's group. Hopefully, we won't have to wait another seven years for another album from this fine group.
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AllMusic Review by Dave Nathan