Mike Longo

New York '78

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These six big-band compositions were conceived as a suite and recorded in 1978, only to be shelved for nearly two decades. The music was intended to capture the flavor of 1970s New York City, so it inevitably comes across as a bit dated. That said, the album boasts an interesting assemblage of players indeed: Junior Cook and Bob Mintzer on saxes, Slide Hampton and Curtis Fuller on trombones, Jon Faddis and Randy Brecker on trumpets, and more. Longo plays both acoustic and electric piano, and Bob Cranshaw lays down the funk on electric bass. The epic "A Point Beyond," with solid percussion by Steve Kroon and nice solos from Brecker and Cook, yields the album's most substantial rewards. "Keep Searchin'," with its laid-back groove, is a close second (a misprint lists it at 7:52 in length instead of 2:52). While the recording sounds a bit muffled and inconsistent in volume, the group's stellar musicianship comes across. Only a player like Longo, steeped in bebop and endlessly resourceful, would think to quote "Sweet Georgia Brown" during the Fagen-esque disco track "Down Under."

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