The Adam Bartczak Republic

While there are still a number of big bands out there drawing inspiration from swing groups of the '30s and '40s, there are also a number of adventurous composers who put a more modern spin on the big-band concept. Composer and bandleader Adam Bartczak does it on Grass Is Greener, the debut album by the Adam Bartczak Republic, a nineteen-piece group that features some of the area's finest jazz players. There are elements of swing here, but Bartczak also incorporates a number of other genres, injecting Afro-Cuban and blues into songs like "Distraction Blues" and funk into cuts like "Greta's Groove," while also fusing elements of jazz and hip-hop into the title track, which features vocals by the Love Royale's Heather Larrabee. Bartczak's stunning three-piece suite, "Tales of Mystery and Imagination," is one of the highlights of the disc, and his arrangement of Mongo Santamaria's "Afro Blue" is outstanding as well.

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