CCM Jazz Ensemble

Lady Bird

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This is an easy album to overlook because it features a college band with the anonymous name of the CCM Jazz Ensemble (CCM stands for University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music). However, the writing (mostly by alumni) is challenging and the many solos by the students are surprisingly mature and viable. The repertoire is quite inspired, featuring such songs as "Donna Lee" (this version has a lot of key changes), "Nardis," "In Your Own Sweet Way," and a riotous version of Charles Mingus' "Moanin'." This set, which also includes a couple small-group numbers, is far superior to most college band recordings and should be picked up by fans of modern big bands.

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