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Totally Live At Catalina Jazz Club - In Memory of Bob Florence

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Album Review

The Phil Norman Tentet intended their live recording at Catalina Jazz Club to be a tribute in part to veteran composer/arranger/pianist Bob Florence, who had worked with Norman's tentet as a sideman when he wasn't leading his own big band. Sadly, Florence passed away a few months prior to the release of this double CD. In any case, Norman's tentet features some of the top West Coast musicians, including trumpeters Carl Saunders and Ron Stout, pianist Christian Jacob (a fine leader himself and important asset to singer Tierney Sutton's band), guitarist Larry Koonse, along with the leader on tenor sax. Florence's arrangement of Miles Davis' "All Blues" alters its familiar chord changes, providing a great backdrop for solos by Koonse, Jacob and Stout. Kim Richmond contributed several great charts, including a tantalizing medley of Horace Silver's "The Outlaw" and French pianist Martial Solal's "Middle Jazz," both works deserving of wider recognition, while his cool scoring of the old country tune "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" also works rather well, showcasing altoist Rusty Higgins and Saunders. With so many versions available of "A Night in Tunisia," it would seem like this tune is in danger of overexposure, but Scott Whitfield's lively arrangement, which opens with a bit dissonance, is worth hearing. The one bit of excess is having the MC introduce the musicians at both the beginning and the end of the evening, either one should have been omitted, preferably the initial introduction, which most listeners will skip since there's no music underneath and it takes far too long.

Totally Live At Catalina Jazz Club - In Memory of Bob Florence, The Phil Norman Tentet
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