The Klüvers Big Band was founded in Denmark in 1977 as a government-supported orchestra for concerts and education, conducted by Jens Klüver. Numerous well-known jazz artists have performed with the orchestra; pianist Mulgrew Miller was recruited for a series of concerts with the band in 2012, though he was not known for working with large ensembles. Several of his compositions were selected and big-band arrangements by two Americans (Dennis Mackrel and Matt Harris) and one Dane (trumpeter Jesper Riis) were commissioned for these performances. Miller thrives in this modern big-band setting, while both the solos and ensemble work by the band are first-rate, as are the imaginative arrangements. The driving "Thinking Out Loud" makes a powerful opener, with Miller's potent chops and Morten Lund's pulsating drumming. Trumpeter Jakob Buchanan and tenor saxophonist Claus Waidtlow are showcased along with the pianist in the brisk post-bop vehicle "Return Trip," followed by the engaging "Samba d'Blue." "Hand in Hand" mixes funk, blues, and gospel in an infectious soul-jazz setting. Perhaps this recording will make the Klüvers Big Band better known outside of Europe, along with encouraging others to recruit Mulgrew Miller for record and concert dates with a big band.
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