Rich Shemaria

3 A.M.

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Keyboardist Rich Shemaria mixes standards and originals for this fine big band set. A native of Orlando, FL, Shemaria honed his craft in New York City and, in the mid '90s, as the musical director of acclaimed Finnish group, the UMO Jazz Orchestra, and he emphasizes tight arrangements, strong soloists and traditional big band voicing. 3 AM was an early milestone in his career, and he assembled an all-star cast which does the job professionally if largely uneventfully. Among the stellar soloists are trumpeters Tim Hagans and Marvin Stamm, tenor saxophonist Rick Perry, trombonist Jim Pugh and guitarist Randy Johnston. With players like that, it is hard to go wrong, and, coupled with the funky arrangements of the leader, the results are largely satisfying. The full sound, lovely chords and swinging melodies combine for a strong performance.

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