Although Bill Holman is one of the all-time great arrangers and the leader of a stirring big band in the Los Angeles area, this was his first recording as a leader in seven years. Performed at a Maynard Ferguson tribute convention/festival put on by Ken Poston, the music played by the Bill Holman Orchestra is a little more boppish than usual for a Holman set, particularly the romping "Zoot 'n' Al," a tribute to Zoot Sims and Al Cohn. However, Holman's arrangements are quite complex, full of surprises and full of excitement. Whether it be a major reworking of the Beatles' "A Day in the Life" and Charlie Parker's "Donna Lee," or such originals as "Woodrow" (for Woody Herman) and "The Bebop Love Song," the music is full of surprising twists and turns. The solos are uniformly excellent from the impressive crew of Los Angeles-area players, but it is the Holman arrangements that are most unique. Highly recommended to fans of modern jazz big bands.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow