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    The Music of Don Redman

    George Kelly - The Music of Don Redman


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    All Music Guide Review

    Don Redman played a major role in the development of modern big band arrangements. His forward looking, sophisticated arrangements made the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra one of the leading big bands of its day. Redman was also a prolific composer and this album collects some of his more engaging tunes. The leader of the group, George Kelly, was a year shy of 70 years old when he brought this outstanding group of instrumentalists into the studio to cut this disc. A contemporary of Redman and a veteran of such historically important groups as the Savoy Sultans and Jay McShann's Orchestra, Kelly is very much at home with this music and his playing shows it. A highlight of the disc is "Chant of the Weed," one of several tunes of the day extolling the joys of marijuana use and features Kelly's Coleman Hawkins'- like tenor sax. Other musical gems are renderings of two of Redman's more popular tunes, "Cherry" and "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You?," where everyone gets an opportunity to stretch out. Especially prominent are Glenn Zottola's trumpet and the Bucky Pizzarelli guitar. Kelly vocalizes on "Gee Baby." with multi-instrumentalist Zottola playing alto sax in support. Sessions like this are essential as a reminder of the important contributions pioneers like Redman made to jazz and how good their music still sounds when put in the hands of capable, sympathetic musicians like George Kelly and his cohorts. ~ Dave Nathan, Rovi

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