Written during the summer of 1957, Manny Albam's ambitious jazz suite The Blues Is Everybody's Business attempts to tell a story in instrumental form. It represents a visit to the fictional Bluestown, with first trumpeter Nick Travis and later Ernie Royal serving as the musical guides. Art Farmer's Harmon-muted trumpet serves as the alter ego to Travis (heard with a cup mute), while Phil Woods' exuberant alto sax and Bob Brookmeyer's sassy valve trombone stand out as the most impressive soloists on the album. The list of all-stars assembled for this project is considerable, also including Al Cohn, Gene Quill, Milt Hinton, and Eddie Costa, to name just a few. In the two middle movements strings are added to augment the orchestra, though Albam's intelligent score keep them from bogging down the music. Nat Hentoff's detailed liner notes are an added bonus. Though this type of composition may have fallen out of fashion, fans of progressive big bands should look for this long out of print Coral LP, as the music is still worth hearing.
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