Mike Longo and the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble – Live from New York!

Live from New York! (2013) by Mike Longo and the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble is the kind of concert performance that sets itself apart from other recordings. The concept of going into Gillespie Auditorium, setting up some microphones and recording with an intimate audience is familiar to fans who’ve heard albums like Maynard Ferguson’s M.F. Horn 4 & 5 Live at Jimmy’s.

Pianist Longo mostly serves as part of the rhythm section, instead putting the horns out front. With him are Tom Hubbard, bass; and Mike Campenni, drums. The trumpets are Chris Rogers, John Replogle, Brian Davis and Waldron Ricks. The trombones are Sam Burtis, Nick Finzer, Nick Grinder and Earl McIntyre (bass). And the saxophones are producer Bob Magnuson (alto), Lee Greene (alto), Frank Perowsky (tenor), Mike Migliore (tenor) and Matt Snyder (baritone). Vocalist Ira Hawkins appears on three tracks.

The set begins with a swinging rendition of Benny Golson’s “Whisper Not.” The 13-piece horn section is at the heart, each group moving in and out of the front but at times the entire ensemble working together. Davis, Greene, Long and Perowsky are the soloists. But the highlight is the power of the full ensemble, whether the horns are harmonizing or injecting overlapping phrases.

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