Hawk-Richard Jazz Orchestra

Reunion

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The Hawk-Richard Jazz Orchestra, co-led by trumpeter Steve Hawk and altoist/arranger Charlie Richard, had not gathered together in seven years when they had this recorded reunion. Many of the musicians originally attended the University of Texas, and the orchestra sounds like a top-notch stage band. Considering that the musicians had only one day of rehearsal before undergoing two days of recording, and that the music is often complex, they did a masterful job. The set, which includes the three-part "Suite for Jazz Orchestra and Alto Saxophone" (including "Waltz for One," "Ballad for Two," and "Keeping Track of Twenty"), is conventional yet unpredictable, swinging yet often full of surprises. It is difficult to pick out solo stars since many of the horn players get short spots. The musicianship is impressive, the writing (by Richard, Sandy Megas, and David Burdick) is colorful, and fans of modern big bands will definitely enjoy this "Reunion."

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