Contraband

Live at the BIMhuis

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Trombonist Willem von Manen is probably best known for his work with Willem Breuker large ensembles, but this early effort shows an early flowering of a distinct voice. Von Manen eschews the theatrics and humor of his mentor, and instead focuses on sophisticated, just slightly unconventional big band arrangements. He is particularly effective when arranging the brass parts, although all of the charts are well thought out. The group features conventional instrumentation played by a mostly Dutch crew, though, to von Manen's credit, the three original pieces plus a three-part suite look forward at least as they do to the past. The trombonist knows how to make the group swing hard, but he also toys with odd time signatures and some free blowing. Solos are spread around and are surprisingly good.

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