196. Buddy Collette / Live from the Nation's Capital (2000)
Buddy Collette was an originator on the West Coast jazz scene. He cofounded the Chico Hamilton Quintet and devoted his time to education, as well as composing and performing. This live disc from 2000 captures a Collette program for the ages, and its disparate contents cover the arc of his career. Performance and audio production are slick, typical of groups billed on the national stage. There is a lot to enjoy. Professionalism aptly describes the soloists, who play snappy, expressive lines that don't disrupt the cascading harmonies. Arrangements are by several including Collette. No matter the arranger, though, the playlist is unified by breaking the group into combos, building tension, and using the whole ensemble for bursts of energized dramatics. Nothing new under sun as far as big band goes (Gerald Wilson or Sam Rivers orchs are more my style) but the infectious bounce on tracks like "Mr. and Mrs. Goodbye" hold a warm sentimentality for a bygone era while others, like the Afro-Cuban rhythm of "Andre" or improvs on "Blues #4" keep the pace and make good use of variety. Live from the Nation's Capital isn't the most essential big band record in my collection, but it offers a lot of good stuff and demonstrates (in a very straight way) the wide array of styles that Collette worked in throughout his career.