New England Jazz Ensemble

Live at the Pittsfield City Jazz Festival

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The New England Jazz Ensemble is a spirited stage band that is comprised of music teachers based in the Northeast. The music on this live CD, which was mostly arranged and/or written by trumpeter Jeff Holmes, pianist Walt Gwardyak and altoist John Mastroianni, hits the usual spots with blues (both major and minor), a medley of standards, some Latin, originals that Stan Kenton might have enjoyed, and a ballad feature. The soloists are solid, the music is conventional, modern mainstream big-band jazz and there are plenty of moments of excitement. The medium-up blues "Tron," trombonist Tim Atherton's showcase on "You Don't Know What Love Is," and the cooking "Nasty Masty" are among the high points. A fine outing.

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