Milt Jackson

The Big Band, Vol. 2

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The second CD released from a long session featuring Milt Jackson as a special guest with the Count Basie Orchestra is a success, though it finds Jackson digging more into the band's repertoire than vice versa. The vibraphonist, like other bop musicians who worked with Basie, doesn't try to hold back during his solos, which are the prominent feature of most tracks, with few of them running over the four-minute mark. Basie does show off a bit of stride in "9:20 Special" and subtle bluesy piano licks in the one extended performance, "Blues for Me," which is jointly credited to the two men. Giving a few solos to some of Basie's talented sidemen (who include Eric Dixon, Sonny Cohn, Charlie Fowlkes and Fred Wesley) would have added a little variety, but it is likely that producer Norman Granz wanted the primary focus to remain on Jackson and Basie, so it is hard to disagree with his wishes, as the date is warmly recommended.

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