Tom Kubis Big Band

Slightly Off the Ground

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Tom Kubis' first recording as a leader is quite impressive. His arranging chops were already in their prime, his big band uses similar personnel to the one in existence more than a dozen years later, and he makes several standards (along with a few originals) sound fresh and lively. Jack Sheldon helps out on "Play It Again Sam" (during which he quickly sums up the entire plot of Casablanca), "Who Can I Turn To," "Which Craft?," and "Alexander's Big Time Band," while trombonist Bill Watrous takes warm and heated solos on "Slightly Off the Ground" and a relaxed "When You're Smiling." The band swings hard, Kubis sounds fine on tenor and soprano, and the ensemble has a recognizable identity. For Tom Kubis, this was an impressive start to a productive career.

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