Bill Watrous

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In the mid-1970s, trombonist Bill Watrous led a couple of notable big band albums for Columbia. Since relocating to the Los Angeles area in the '80s, Watrous has put together jazz orchestras on a part-time basis to play at local clubs. Finally, in 1997, a recording was released by the more recent version of the Bill Watrous Big Band. Featuring arrangements by Tom Kubis, Shelly Berg, Gordon Goodwin, Ken Kaplan and Frank Perowsky, the Double-Time set is largely straight-ahead but not exactly predictable. Most of the eight selections have their complex sections, but always swing. The warm-toned trombonist is the main soloist (fully showcased on "My Foolish Heart" and "My Romance"); powerhouse pianist Shelly Berg is the top supporting player, and other key voices include Gene Burkurt and Bill Liston on tenors, trumpeters Bob Summers and Steve Huffsteter, and altoist Sal Lozano. The music is as rewarding as one would expect, considering the caliber of these players, and is easily recommended to modern big-band fans.

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