Hanssler Classics is known more for its classical recordings than its occasional jazz releases, but when they feature a visiting American jazz all-star with the SWR Big Band, they make one wonder why they don't do more jazz. Frank Foster is their special guest, leading the band through a series of his charts and a few by another Count Basie alum, the late Thad Jones, though many of these compositions deserve to be more widely known. The band swings while sounding a bit more modern than Basie's recordings of these charts, which should come as no surprise as the original recordings were made decades earlier by a very different lineup. Foster remains a formidable soloist, particularly in Jones' "Mean What You Say," though there are a number of fine soloists with the band, including tenor saxophonists Andi Maile and Peter Weniger, trombonist Ian Cumming, trumpeter/flügelhornist Don Rader, flügelhornist Karl Farrent, and pianist Klaus Wagenleiter, to name a few.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden