Portrait of a Count

Conte Candoli

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Portrait of a Count Review

by Scott Yanow

Long a fixture in the Los Angeles area and a major bop-oriented soloist for over a half-century, trumpeter Conte Candoli has recorded much too infrequently as a leader through the years. Although he led a fair amount of recording dates in the 1950s, he had only had two sets as a leader since 1960 until this gem, which was conceived and produced by Dick Bank. On arguably his finest recording as a leader, Candoli is very well showcased with a quartet also featuring the talented pianist Jan Lundgren, bassist Chuck Berghofer, and drummer Joe LaBarbera. Other than a couple of basic originals, the music consists of standards with the trumpeter (69 at the time) soloing throughout in peak form. Whether he is swinging hard or playing lyrically, Candoli has rarely sounded better, and it is a pleasure to hear him as the only horn. Highlights include "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise," "Yesterdays," "I Dig Fig," and "I'll Remember April," but each of the dozen selections is well worth hearing. Essential music for the bop collector.

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