Illinois Jacquet / Michel Legrand

Michel Legrand Orchestra

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Michel Legrand Orchestra Review

by Scott Yanow

This CD reissue, which adds five alternate takes to the original LP program, finds tenor great Illinois Jacquet totally dominating the proceedings. Jacquet is heard in prime form on a few heated romps, is warm on the ballads, does a close imitation of Lester Young on "Pucker Up," and is quite effective during his appearances on alto, especially on "Indiana." The rhythm section, led by pianist Sir Charles Thompson, is very much in the Basie tradition, and the other horns, playing Jimmy Mundy's arrangements, get to riff a lot behind the distinctive leader. The brevity of the performances (only one song exceeds 4 1/2 minutes) and the small amount of solo space given combative trumpeter Roy Eldridge, who would have been an ideal partner for Jacquet, are slight disappointments, but this set is worth picking up.

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