Various Artists

The Dedication Series, Vol. 9: The Great Arrangers

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This double LP, released in Impulse's reissue series of the late '70s, has two unrelated albums led by arrangers. Part one is Gil Evans' Out of the Cool album (which is augmented by a previously unreleased version of "Sister Sadie"). Evans's 13-piece group includes such individual voices as trumpeter Johny Coles, trombonist Jimmy Knepper and Budd Johnson on tenor and soprano. The music (two originals, "Where Flamingos Fly," "Bilbao" and George Russell's "Stratusphunk" in addition to "Sister Sadie") is inventive and colorful although not quite up to the excitement level of Evans's best work. The second album, in contrast, has what could be considered Gary McFarland's finest album, a live concert from Feb. 1966 in which the vibrahonist heads a 20-piece orchestra. Much of McFarland's writing was for very commercial projects but this strong jazz set has solo space for guitarist Gabor Szabo, altoist Phil Woods, Zoot Sims on tenor and valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer among others and introduces six diverse McFarland compositions. It's worth searching for.