Herb Geller

Playing Jazz

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Altoist Herb Geller put together a musical play based on his life, and this CD is the result. Geller, who throughout the 1990s was at the peak of his playing powers, takes many fine solos on his originals and is assisted by pianist Tom Ranier, bassist John Leitham, and drummer Paul Kreibich. He is joined by singers Lothar Atwell, Mike Campbell, Stephanie Haynes (who plays Lorraine Geller), and Polly Podewell, plus DJ Chuck Niles and Rich Crystal (who depicts Lenny Bruce doing a routine). Some of the individual pieces are overly talky, and the chronology is sometimes a little confusing, but this generally intriguing set has its strong moments. Particularly memorable are "Stand-Up Comic" and "Celebrating Bird."

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