Pratt Brothers Big Band

16 Men and a Chick Singer Swingin'

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Big bands may no longer regularly touring extensively across the U.S., but there are still musicians like brothers Dean Pratt (trumpet) and Michael Pratt (drums) who can put together an exciting band for a studio date. They devour Ernie Wilkins' swinging "Big Bad Basie" whole, offering a percolating take of Hank Mobley's "Old World New Imports" and a loping "Falling in Love with Love," another Wilkins arrangement. In addition to the leaders' outstanding solos, featured artists include pianist Ronnie Mathews, tenor saxophonist Willie Williams, and trumpeter Don Sickler (all veterans of T.S. Monk's band and occasionally leaders themselves), along with bassist Chip Jackson (Billy Taylor Trio) and trombonist Scott Whitfield (who has recorded several CDs of his own). Vocalist Roberta Gambarini's on-the-money vocals are added on several tracks, including a lush "Skylark," Michael Abene's inventive arrangement of "Cup of Life" (Tom McIntosh's gorgeous melody "The Cup Bearers" with lyrics by Meredith d'Ambrosio), and Kenny Dorham's little known ballad "Fair Weather." Highly recommended.

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