Buddy Rich

Class of '78

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Buddy Rich successfully led big bands from 1966 until his death in 1987, but other than his final effort in 1985, this album contains his orchestra's last significant recording. Inexcusably brief (with only a half-hour of music), the lack of quantity is made up for by the high quality. The drummer's 15-piece ensemble performs memorable versions of "Bouncin' with Bud," "Birdland" (the best big-band version of the Weather Report hit), Horace Silver's "Cape Verdean Blues," Chick Corea's "Fiesta" and Barry Mintzer's "Funk City Ola." With the soloists including Steve Marcus on tenor and soprano, tenorman Gary Pribek, pianist Barry Keiner and Rich himself (on "Fiesta"), the music is consistently exciting. Recommended.