Sometimes there seem to be two flavors of contemporary jazz orchestras; some exist to fulful the needs of specific composers, like Maria Schneider, who are creating a new kind of jazz-based concert music, which may be beautiful – in fact it is beautiful – but you can't dance to it. Then there are those like the City Rhythm Orchestra (the city being Philadelphia) who are at once up to date but firmly rooted in the music's long heritage of social dancing. Led by saxophonists Pete Spina and Nick Vallerio, the group has a bright, vibrant and exciting sound, full of fascinating orchestral colors (particularly on their "City Rhythm Cha Cha," which to me has something of a middle eastern sound atop a rhumba beat). While the group usually plays a combination of new arrangements of standards and their own originals, this special Father's Day show, featuring vocalist Steve Ritrovato, honors the remarkable collaboration of Frank Sinatra and Count Basie, which produced two studio albums and one of the great live concert albums of all time. (Here's hoping they play "I'm Standing Pat," a newer song which is Sinatra-Basie-esque in the extreme.)
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