Charlie Shoemake Orchestra

Satin Nights

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Vibraphonist Charlie Shoemake is best known for his small-group recordings, so this session is a bit of an eye opener. He wrote music to feature his wife, Sandi Shoemake, singing lyrics by Arthur Hamilton, backed by an all-star big band arranged and conducted by Bill Holman. If that's not enough, add Phil Woods, Bob Cooper, and Alan Broadbent to the mix. Sadly, this fine music wasn't widely distributed due to the rather short lifespan of the Black Hawk label. Like many releases on Dr. Herb Wong's late lamented label, this disc is well worth locating, as everything gels nicely through the session. Sandi Shoemake's lovely clear voice complements the songs very well, whether it's an up-tempo cooker like "Satin Nights," a soft bossa nova such as "Old Aquaintance," or the deceptively titled "We Tore It Down Last Night," which is actually a slow bittersweet ballad. Charlie Shoemake and Phil Woods take the lion's share of the solos, though everyone excels on this very rewarding if somewhat overlooked date.

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