Better Days Ahead teams together the outstanding high-note trumpeter John Blount with drummer Dave Tucker and the New Big Band. Actually Blount also plays well in the lower registers but it is difficult to overlook his virtuosity which is very much in evidence on "Firedance" and on many of the other pieces. The orchestra is excellent, with first-class musicianship, rewarding solos particularly by guitarist Rich Roeder and pianist Harry Appleman, and fresh arrangements. Bill Warfield's reworking of Louis Armstrong's "West End Blues" is inspired and there are also charts from Rich Matteson, Glenn Cashman, Tommy Newsom, Gary Lindsay, Allen Vizzutti, Scott Silbert, Andy Weiner and Hank Levy. Ranging from dramatic pieces such as "The Bad and the Beautiful" and "Profile of a Trumpet Player" to a pair of Pat Metheny tunes and some rollicking swingers, this is a set that fans of modern big bands will find easy to enjoy.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow