Bob Brookmeyer's guest appearance with the Ed Partyka Jazz Orchestra was a special tribute to the veteran valve trombonist's 70th birthday, with originals specifically written in his honor for this recording. Brookmeyer is the principal soloist throughout, and though liner-note writer Bill Kirchner encourages listeners not to try to listen to all of the music in one sitting, it's likely because the music is so intricate that repeated hearings will be required to catch many of the nuances of each arrangement. "Green Dreams" is a lyrical ballad with some interesting twists, while Maria Schneider's richly textured "Anthem" is a stroke of genius. The late Manny Albam's humorously titled "Going On 29" has a playful call and response between Brookmeyer and the orchestra. Partyka's "Madly Loving You" is an imaginative reworking of Duke Ellington's "Love You Madly." Drummer John Hollenbeck contributed the medley "Processional" and "Desiderata"; the first piece seems like a dark Charles Ives-inspired work, while his reflective musical background for Brookmeyer's narration of the famous Max Ehrmann poem proves to be very effective. While narrative pieces can often grow tedious in a hurry, this one is a happy exception. This challenging music is well-worth exploring.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden