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    Large Jazz Ensemble 1999 Grammy Winner

    Count Plays Duke
    by Count Basie Orchestra
    n.crockett@netnoir.net from Florissant, MO 

    The Count Basie Orchestra rockin, 'n rhythm with the Duke.
    I first heard "A-Train," unannounced on the radio; recognized Kenny Hing, but I didn't recognize the arrangement. But I do now. Allyn Ferguson's arrangement of this album is as remarkable, as it is unique. He interpreted each song his way , unlike Duke nor Basie. Such a concept offered new challenges for each musician. Kenny Hing, my main man, plays like a man possessed: his technique, interpretation and presentation are tour-de-force. Bob Ojeda played himself, no paraphrasing some other trumpeter's  solo, a delightful departure. And the consummate Frank Wess is the man. His infectious and adventuresome improvisations are works of art. You are seduced by the subtleties of his solos, then suddenly; he is posturing ideas with pulsating dynamics on each beat. Another stroke of genius was Ferguson's inclusion of  "Star-Crossed Lovers" and "Paris Blues;" which are less played, but here, so hauntingly and beautifully presented. The ingratiating ambiance of the music; the high standard of the orchestra's elegance; the leadership of Grover Mitchell and the verve of Butch Miles, all combine in this album, yearning to become a jazz classic album: A confirmation of the essence of making each note Count [like] Basie! 
    1999, 1997 Grammy Large Jazz Ensemble Winner
     
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