Buddy Rich

The Buddy Rich Band

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This release finds Buddy Rich, nearly 65 at the time, trying to appeal to a popular audience by infusing more elements of funk and rock into the big band sound. The technical execution of the pieces by the ensemble is just fine, but the project should never have been attempted in the first place. The set opens with a bland arrangement of "Never Can Say Goodbye," a pop tune done by the Jackson 5, which sets the tone for the album. The majority of the selections were arranged by Harold Wheeler, but the two tracks arranged by Robert Mintzer -- "Slow Funk" and "Good News -- are far more effective. "Good News" closes the album and is the best track of the set. It is an epic at 14:24, which features an extended solo from Rich himself. It was a showcase piece which extended out even further in concert. In all, the album has a few moments, but is not representative of Rich's best work. He was much better off when he stuck to conventional jazz formulas.

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