Ray Anderson / Ray Anderson Pocket Brass Band

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Trombonist Ray Anderson's Pocket Brass Band is aptly named, not only because of its size and instrumentation (the other members are Lew Soloff on trumpet, Bobby Previte on drums, and Matt Perrine on sousaphone), but also because the group's sound is so deeply rooted in New Orleans. In fact, with its funky/military drum sound and penchant for ensemble improvisation, the group often sounds like a chamber version of the raucous second-line jazz bands of the past. The result is delightful; Anderson draws from a seemingly bottomless bag of growls, mutters, and shouts, and sometimes threatens to abandon a tune's harmonic structure altogether in order to pursue his tonal vision. But as adventurous as he and Soloff get, their sound is never abrasive; it's too joyful for that. Highlights include Anderson's funky "Bimwa Swing," a barnstorming rendition of Thelonious Monk's "I Mean You," and an insinuating mid-tempo take on Scott Joplin's "Pineapple Rag." Wonderful.

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