New Zealand Jazz Orchestra – s/t
This 1973 LP is a product of a “workshop” styled big band which was put together in Wellington by American Frank Diliberto. The album itself tries to cover a few too many different styles of Jazz to be a consistent listen from front to back, but there are definitely some great moments. Diliberto directs the band through tight, forward thinking versions of “MacArthur Park”, “Light My Fire” & “Open Country” to name just a few. However, the cut I’m really digging at the moment is the version of “Willie & Laura Mae Jones”. It appears halfway through Side Two, was arranged by bassist Chris Schnack and features vocals from Anna Leah, who was the permanent singer with the band at the time.