NDR Bigband

Bravissimo, Vol. 2: 50 Years of NDR Big Band

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Sampling performances over a 25-year period, this second best-of compilation from the longstanding band has much to recommend it. From jumping highs to smoky slow numbers, the outfit is on the mark throughout. The most notable aspect is their treatment of works by Thelonious Monk ("Round About Midnight") and Charlie Parker ("Blues for Alice"). Rather than overblowing these tunes, they make bop work in a big-band setting. There are some nice original tunes as well, such as guitarist Phillip Catherine's amusing "Piano Groove". Only occasionally do they slip into big-band bloat, as on John Surman's histrionic original "Carpet Ride."

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