Bill Smith

The American Jazz Ensemble in Rome

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The first of two albums by the short-lived American Jazz Ensemble features clarinetist Bill Smith (best-known for his association with Dave Brubeck), pianist John Eaton, bassist Pierre Favre and drummer Erich Peter. The quartet performs two originals apiece by Smith and Eaton plus six diverse standards. The treatments are sometimes a bit academic (with the use of devices and harmonies borrowed from classical music) but they also swing and hold one's interest. Pity that both of the forgotten group's Lp's are long out of print.