Greg Duncan


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Bandleader Greg Duncan spent some time touring with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and in ways it shows here on his debut recording. While he's working in a quintet for Unveiled, and on modern compositions, there's a definite classic big-band sound. The players here -- Duncan on trumpet, Dan Nicholson on sax, and Marcin Fahmy, Jon Deitemeyer, and Jeff Greene as the rhythm section -- all play their parts in a cohesive manner, never straying too far from one another's beat and mood. However, what sets the group apart from the classic big bands (such as Glenn Miller's) is the bandmembers' tendency to follow one another off to the stratosphere with more intricate and more wailing solos, higher-intensity melodies, and movement throughout the instrument range. The band sounds like a classic big band; the band sounds like a modern small combo. The tone is relaxed; the tone is exciting. While the rhythm section plays out an excellent backdrop, the stars here are clearly the horns, with Duncan and Nicholson taking turns running through their respective solos, pausing only for brief solos from the rest of the group now and then. The album moves from piece to piece changing styles ever so slightly, but hanging together with a coherent collection and a modern style. That dichotomy between the tight instrument groupings and the jumping, wailing numbers almost recalls the Tadd Dameron days, but with more post-bop thrown into the mix. As such, this one's a definite pick for those looking for young jazz that still pays respect to its elders.

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