The ensemble playing is strong and each player relishes their turn to solo.

Ubuntu Music: UBU0113

Jim Rotondi: trumpet; Dick Oates: alto saxophone; Jon Boutellier: tenor saxophone; Rik van den Bergh: baritone saxophone; Johannes Herrlich: trombone; Andrea Pozza: piano; Aldo Zunino: bass; Bernd Reiter: drums

Recorded October 14th 2021 by Stefan Templer and Tilo Zipfel at Audi Forum Ingoldstadt, Germany

With the exception of Mingus’ ‘Portrait’ and Young’s ‘My foolish heart’, this a set of compositions from Tadd Dameron which he wrote for the big bands of Billy Eckstine and Dizzy Gillespie. Dameron has a reputation as a composer of melodic bebop in which the complicated patterns favoured by bop players are thread back through the music of Duke Ellington.

His approach to composing and arranging not only provided a bridge between Swing and bop, but also allowed cross fertilisation between what might have been competing traditions: so that bop was softened by his melodicism and Swing was hardened by the unusual chordal arrangements that he enjoyed.

In the early 1980s, the first revival of Dameron’s music came with Philly Joe Jones and Don Sickler form Dameronia. On this recording, a new band of Dameronians join together to celebrate Dameron’s music. Translating from large ensembles to an octet could risk a loss of power and colour in the playing.

But there is no such loss here – the octet power through the tunes as if the stage was crowded with many more musicians. The ensemble playing is strong and each player relishes their turn to solo.

At times, and this is my only quibble, the audience applause after each and every solo became a bit wearing – but this is more a testament to the joy that the band engendered in the audience rather than a problem of the playing. If you love Tadd Dameron’s music, this is a very fitting and enjoyable memorial to him.

Reviewed by Chris Baber