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Jesper Thilo Quintet/Al Grey: Al Grey and Jesper Thilo Quintet

Album Notes

This studio session in which the great swing trombonist Al Grey leads a fine quintet through a set of mostly standards is exactly what journalist Eddie Cook calls "Happy Jazz" in the liner notes. Grey is right at home with tunes such as "God Bless the Child," "The Girl From Ipanema," and "A Night in Tunisia." The surprise of the session is "On the Sunny Side of the Street," which is played at a slow though compelling pace. Grey came to favor the tenor-bone front line in his small groups, and the Dane, saxophonist Jesper Thilo, does a commendable job as his partner. Thilo's thick, rich tone recalls Coleman Hawkins, a perfect foil to the trombonist's brash, brassy sound. While Grey's best work was performed as a big-band sideman, both with Dizzy Gillespie and Count Basie, his excellent solo work here and in other intimate settings is nonetheless an important part of his discography. His unique tone and style are in full bloom, and this recording should appeal to anyone who enjoys the sound of the jazz trombone in a joyous, no frills, and straight-ahead role. ~ Steven Loewy


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