Bill Holman

The Bill Holman Band

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This JVC CD is a reissue of a late-'80s CD. Bill Holman has long been one of the top arrangers in jazz but, because he has not recorded all that many albums and because he is based in L.A., he tends to get overlooked in popularity polls. An innovative writer who features crowded yet swinging ensembles and charts that are both complex and colorful, Holman generally emphasizes originals these days. However on this record, which was his first full set on record as a leader since 1960 (!), six of the nine selections are standards (including "Just Friends" which was composed by John Klenner, not John Klemmer as listed) and it is interesting to hear what Holman does to such songs as Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely," Monk's "I Mean You" (which at one point has four soprano saxophonists trading off) and the theme from the 1930s movie Hurricane, "The Moon of Manakoora." With such soloists as altoist Lanny Morgan, the late great tenor Bob Cooper, trumpeters Bob Summers and Don Rader, and trombonists Rick Culver and Bob Enevoldsen, along with the high note trumpet of Frank Szabo, it is not surprising that the enjoyable disc has plenty of highlights, but actually it is the ensembles that are most notable. The many arranged choruses on "Just Friends" are particularly memorable.

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