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Mad to the Bone - Rob Stoneback, Stonequake Recordings
Straightahead swinging big band featuring the legendary jazz trombonist Bill Watrous
"Trombonist Bill Watrous is the solo star of this swinging set. He teams up with trombonist-arranger Rob Stoneback's big band for a set of newly arranged charts. The only vintage arrangement is Ernie Wilkins' "Basie," which had not been recorded before despite having been written 45 years ago. Watrous is in superior form throughout, really showing off his brilliant technique on "Cherokee." Many of the other horn players have at least one solo, with tenor saxophonist Wendell Hobbs taking honors among the supporting cast. Stoneback, who contributed seven of the arrangements, modestly only takes three solos, including sharing "Beautiful Friendship" with Watrous. There are also effective vocals from Robin Work ("Bye Bye Blackbird" and "Alone Together") and Michael Condella ("The Way You Look Tonight" and "Come Rain Or Come Shine"). All in all, this is an enjoyable, boppish, big band set."
-- Scott Yanow (AllMusic)
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