Italian Bruno Tommaso relinquishes his role as bassist and steps to the plate as composer and director of the little-known Marche Jazz Orchestra for this exciting concert. Other than trombonist Roberto Rossi, few, if any, of the instrumentalists are well-known, but the consistently high quality of the orchestra should quickly silence any doubters. In the venerable Italian tradition, the arrangements are grand and bold, almost operatic, incorporating extensive vocals (in Italian and English) and complex harmonies. Tommaso is a dedicated composer who takes his work seriously. He enjoys swatches of sound, but also a delicacy of touch. Unlike any of the American big bands, Tommaso often uses the singers as extra horns to create deeper harmonies. At other times, they are utilized in more traditional roles. While Tommaso has ties to the avant-garde, his heart is in big band swing. The closing piece, "Commiato," is a crowd-pleaser that might have been written decades ago, yet it sounds original and only somewhat derivative. The soloists are of uniformly high quality, but it is the vocalists who steal the show with their wit, style, and command. The results throughout are different enough to attract the attention of anyone who enjoys the music of the big jazz band.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy