Jack Nimitz

The Live at Capozzoli's

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Bob Lorenz loves straight-ahead jazz, particularly the variety performed by veterans in L.A.-area clubs. Lorenz loves it so much that he started a label (Woofy Productions) in the early 1990s to document many of his favorite jazz musicians, players whom he felt were not featured enough in freewheeling settings on record. This particular CD matches baritonist Jack Nimitz (whose recorded debut as a leader did not come until a 1995 Fresh Sound release) at the head of a quintet also featuring cornetist Bill Berry, pianist George Gaffney, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Jake Hanna. While all five musicians are familiar fixtures in L.A., they do not have opportunities to perform on record that often in this type of spontaneous setting. Under Nimitz's direction, the all-stars jam through seven standards and Berry's "Paposse Blosse," sounding enthusiastic and creative within the boundaries of bebop. Both Nimitz ("Polka Dots and Moonbeams") and Berry ("You've Changed") get ballad features; the other highlights include "Broadway," "Sweet Georgia Brown" (which evolves into "Dig") and "A Night In Tunisia." George Gaffney in particular sounds quite inspired, creating some of the finest recorded solos of his career; his playing has been taken granted for too long. This is a set -- and Woofy is a label -- easily recommended to bebop lovers.