Mingus Big Band

I Am Three

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As usual, the Mingus Big Band is in exuberant form throughout their performances on this CD, most notably on definitive versions of "Song with Orange" and "Orange Is Color of Her Dress," both of which were arranged by the late John Stubblefield. A bit different is that two songs apiece are played by Mingus Dynasty (a septet taken out of the big band) and the Mingus Orchestra. The latter, in addition to six bandmembers, adds French horn, bass clarinet, bassoon, and guitar. But although those two smaller groups have their moments, there is nothing that can match the Mingus Big Band at its finest. The key soloists include trumpeters Jeremy Pelt, Randy Brecker, and Jack Walrath, pianist George Colligan, trombonists Conrad Herwig and Ku umba Frank Lacy (who sings on "Paris in Blue"), tenor saxophonists Seamus Blake and Abraham Burton, baritonist Ronnie Cuber, and altoists Miguel Zenón and Alex Foster although anyone in this band can solo with the best, including bassist Boris Kozlov. The Mingus Big Band has been one of the most exciting of all big bands since its formation and I Am Three is another dazzling effort.

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