Manny Albam's ambitious The Soul of the City is a suite for a large orchestra with jazz soloists that portrays his musical impressions of New York City. Albam, always an imaginative arranger and composer, is assisted by such outstanding guests as J.J. Johnson, Phil Woods, Hank Jones, Frank Wess, Ernie Royal, Joe Newman, and Freddie Hubbard. Some of the sound effects dubbed into individual pieces, such as a baby crying in "Born on Arrival" and kids playing in "The Children's Corner," may seem a bit corny and dated to some, but these progressive big band charts have held up very well over the decades since The Soul of the City was first issued by Solid State in 1966. This beautifully recorded album is well worth picking up, though it will be extremely difficult to track down.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden