Bob Bernotas, WNTI's host of Just Jazz, makes the following four CD recommendations:
Mike Barone: Class of '68 (Rhubarb Recordings): From 1968 to 1992 trombonist Mike Barone was the primary arranger for The Tonight Show band. During the late 1960s Barone also led his own big band, and these live tracks, featuring such LA jazz and studio stalwarts as Buddy Childers, Med Flory, Bill Perkins, and Jack Nimitz, sound as fresh and swinging today as they did when they were recorded four decades ago. This kind of m usic never gets old!
Sharel Cassity: Relentless (Jazz Legacy Productions): In just a decade on the New York scene, alto saxophonist Sharel Cassity has worked alongside many of the masters of this music and emerged as one of the city's finest young jazz artists. Her latest CD makes a clear statement of how far she has come and how much farther she will go. In the words of saxophone giant Jimmy Heath, "This young lady's got a lot to say," and she says it here.
Sound Assembly: Edge of the Mind (Beauport Jazz): Co-led by composers David Schumacher and J.C. Sanford, Sound Assembly specializes in cutting-edge big band jazz. Their creative and challenging pieces spotlight superb soloists like trumpeter John Bailey, trombonists Alan Ferber and Mark Patterson, tenor saxophonist Chris Bacas, and pianist Deanna Witkowski, and are driven by the cohesive team of bassist David Ambrosio and drummer John Hollenbeck.
Frank Wess: Once Is Not Enough (Labeth Music): At the age of 87, tenor saxophonist-flutist Frank Wess is more than a living legend - he's a living treasure. This largely nonet date, which includes six of Wess' original compositions, gives testimony to a life well-lived in jazz. His nine-and-a-half minute exploration of "Lush Life" stands as one of the strongest performances of Wess' long career, and one of the finest tenor saxophone ballads on record.