Paolo Nonnis

Just in Time

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Paolo Nonnis' big band on this CD plays very much in the style of Buddy Rich's orchestras of the 1960s and '70s. With such key soloists as tenor saxophonist Steve Marcus and altoist Joe Romano (who stretches out on "Body and Soul"), along with driving arrangements (mostly from Bill Cunliffe and Keith Bishop) in the Rich style, Nonnis' band does not pave any new paths. However, the music is played with great drive and enthusiasm, there is plenty of room for solos, and Nonnis himself recalls Rich in the ensembles. Among the highlights of the frequently exciting set are the dueling saxophones of Hal Melia and Marcus on "When Ya Gotta Go Ya Gotta Go," a blaring "Just In Time" and a lengthy reworking of "Rockin' In Rhythm." Pianist Brian O'Rourke is a strong asset, the trumpet section can really shout, and (just as with Rich's band) the orchestra sounds a bit impatient on the few ballads. Even with the derivative nature of the music, this is a highly recommended set for modern big band jazz fans.

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