Randy Sandke

I Hear Music

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The superior and surprisingly flexible trumpeter Randy Sandke mostly emphasizes the mainstream swing side of himself on this highly enjoyable release. He teams up with Ken Peplowski (who sticks to tenor except for a bit of clarinet on "Muddy Water"), pianist Ray Kennedy, bassist John Goldsby, and drummer Terry Clarke for a set of mostly lesser-known standards and originals. Sandke's compositions tend to be based on earlier tunes ("Wildfire" is actually "Liza," "See You Later" is "Everybody Loves My Baby," etc.), putting new melodies to older chord changes. Overall this is high-quality swing that both looks ahead toward bop and backwards toward 1920s jazz. Among the highlights are "Thanks a Million" (which has a dramatic statement by the trumpeter), "Muddy Water," "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues," and "I Love Louis" (mostly based on "Shine"). Highly recommended.

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