The International Jazz Quartet consists of two Americans (trumpeter Duke Heitger and drummer Oliver Mewes) and two Europeans (multi-reed player Engelbert Wrobel and pianist Paolo Alderighi) who interpret music primarily from the 1920s, '30s, and '40s. The quartet digs into the music of Jelly Roll Morton, including a trad jazz rendition of "Sidewalk Blues" and Alderighi's playful solo piano interpretation of "King Porter Stomp." The band revives many of the pop hits of the '30s and '40s that have long been overlooked, among them an easygoing setting of "When Day Is Done" and Pee Wee Russell's "Pee Wee's Blues," both featuring Wrobel's lush clarinet. Wrobel switches to tenor sax for Ben Webster's riff tune "Woke Up Clipped," with Heitger's sassy, muted horn providing a terrific second voice behind the tenor. The dreamy setting of "When You Wish Upon a Star" is a duo number for Heitger and Alderighi, their ESP-like playing makes it seem as if they've played together for decades. The quartet even enters the bop era with lively performances of Jimmy Giuffre's "Four Brothers" and Sir Charles Thompson's "Dynaflow." The group's playing never resorts to interpreting these works as museum pieces, but as valuable songs that still have a lot to say generations after they were first recorded by jazz musicians.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden