1966 was a most illogical time for anyone to try forming a new big band but Buddy Rich beat the odds. This CD reissues the first album by the Buddy Rich Orchestra, augmenting the original Lp program with nine previously unissued performances from the same sessions. The arrangements (eight by Oliver Nelson along with charts by Bill Holman, Phil Wilson, Jay Corre, Don Rader and others) swing, put the emphasis on the ensembles and primarily feature Corre's tenor although trumpeter Bobby Shew, altoist Pete Yellin, pianist John Bunch and guitarist Barry Zweig are also heard from. Most of the songs did not stay in the drummer's repertoire long (other than Bill Reddie's adaptation of "West Side Story" and "Sister Sadie") and in fact only three members of the 17-piece orchestra would still be working for Rich a year later. An enjoyable and somewhat historic set.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow