In the early '80s, saxophonist Ted Richardson, a geologist by day, commissioned Bill Holman to write material for a septet album. After all of the ten arrangements were written, the project never took place and the charts sat in a closet for 20 years. Carl Saunders, lead trumpeter with Holman for many years and a brilliant soloist, unearthed the arrangements, and on this 2007 CD the music was finally recorded. Since Holman is one of the most brilliant arrangers in jazz history, the wait was worth it. While there are many fine solos along the way by Saunders (whose lines on the trumpet seem both effortless and endless), tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb (showcased on "Dearly Beloved"), trombonist Andy Martin, pianist Christian Jacob, and guest Sam Most (on flute and baritone), it is the written ensembles that are most adventurous and memorable. Whether deconstructing and reinventing five standards, introducing five pieces of his own, or arranging Saunders' "The Hook" especially for this project, Bill Holman shows that he is more than just a premiere big-band arranger. A gem.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow