The third in a projected six-disc set, The Complete Phoenix Recordings document s bop veterans Conte Candoli and Carl Fontana's 1993 night-club stand in Phoenix. The recording captures the boon fellowship of the affair -- old friends happy together doing what they do best , blowing straight ahead jazz over the chord changes of favorite tunes. Candoli and Fontana make a good frontline pair. Their styles, developed in the early years of bop and honed with stays in the progressive big bands of Woody Herman and Stan Kenton, are complementary. Yet each musician has a distinctive voice. Candoli jabs out his lines with rough and ready exuberance. He sounds just on the edge of losing control, yet his brash lines always land true. In his ebullience he sometimes waves the bell of his horn away from the mike. In contrast Fontana stays anchored to the mike. His bell flush against it to capture his soft yet sure articulation.. He plays with equanimity, lines carefully measured and weighed, searching out the most fetching melodic gems within the harmonic structure. Fontana, who has been known to outrun saxophonists, here lays back, keeping it simple. He does slip into double-time on his ballad feature "Everything I Love," while Candoli on his own feature, &"Lover Man, displays a more sensitive side. The rhythm section does well, holding its own with the more renowned frontline in the solo department and keeping the proceedings on a even keel. And that is the greatest drawback of the session. Everything rolls along in fine fashion, but the performances never hit any peaks. Best enjoyed for its relaxed, conversational style.
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AllMusic Review by David Dupont