“An excellent arranger with a real affection for hard-swinging, contemporary big band jazz” is how Great Britain’s Virgin Encyclopedia of Jazz characterizes Canadian Rob McConnell. Born near Toronto in 1935, McConnell played valve trombone in a number of local bands before joining his fellow Canadian Maynard Ferguson in New York where the famous highnote trumpeter had been playing with his big band since 1956. In 1968 McConnell returned to Toronto and founded a 15 piece brass band with rhythm section. He named it Boss Brass, keeping the name when he added a 5 piece reed section to the band in 1971. At first, McConnell arranged pop hits for Boss Brass, but as time went on the repertoire became more and more jazzy. Through their recordings, the band won international acclaim. However, they had never toured outside of Canada, so this 1979 MPS production took place in a studio in Toronto and was later mixed at MPS’s studio in Villingen, Germany. McConnell is lauded as a bandleader and arranger; on Present Perfect he shows himself to be a superb trombonist. On Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, he plays an adventurously off-kilter lead-in to the melody, and then delivers a brilliant valve trombone solo. In 1988, after 20 years with Boss Brass, he accepted a teaching job in California, but returned to Toronto a year later and re-formed the band.