Jack Cortner Sound Check Jazzed/Media ****

The US has plenty of orchestras that keep the swinging big band tradition alive, but there are few so unabashedly within that tradition – and so good at it – as Jack Cortner’s superbly marshalled ensemble. And, for an ad hoc group, albeit of front-rank New Yorkers, its unity is astonishing. Cortner’s writing, unfussy yet beautifully crafted, also helps, as does a roster of superior soloists led by Marvin Stamm (trumpet/flugelhorn), Jim Pugh (trombone), Bill Mays (piano), Jon Gordon (alto) and Dave Tofani (tenor). Stamm and Pugh, in particular, are in extraordinary form, while Cortner’s arranging balances personal interpretation with respect on Herbie Hancock’s Cantaloupe Island and standards such as Yesterdays, Caravan, the Cinema Paradiso theme, You and the Night and the Musicand It’s All Right With Me. Two Cortner blues, Sound Check and À la Mode, groove in true Basie style. Tasty. www. JazzedMedia.com