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Album Review

On this two-CD set, veteran altoist Richie Cole leads his Alto Madness Orchestra. Despite the name of the group, the arrangements are often dance band-oriented, melodic and quite safe. The happy craziness of Cole's earlier recordings is mostly heard in his solos and that of such fine sidemen as trumpeter Jack Walrath, trombonist Rick Stepton, guitarist Vic Juris and pianist Don Friedman. It is good to hear Cole still playing very much in his prime. The up-tempo pieces are generally exciting, at least during the solo segments, but the slower numbers tend to be predictable and a bit dull due to the charts. Perhaps the band book is meant to be played for conservative dancers, but listeners who prefer Richie Cole's more adventurous flights will have to be satisfied with moments of brilliance rather than a classic set.

Risë's Rose Garden, Richie Cole & The Alto Madness Orchestra
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