Formed in 1972 by Swiss jazz giants pianist George Gruntz, alto saxophonist Flavio Ambrosetti, his son, trumpeter Franco Ambrosetti, and drummer Daniel Humair, The Band would later metamorphose into the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band. The predilection towards a combination of international jazz all-stars and home-grown compositions is already in evidence on this, their first album, and a bevy of jazz greats are along for the ride. The complex contrapuntal Our Suite Dig features brilliant solos by trumpeter Franco and father Flavio on alto before settling down into a loping ¾ that moves back into a riveting 4/4 and a taste of ensemble freedom. The samba feel of Pistrophallobus has US trumpeter Virgil Jones’ hot solo followed by a hard-swinging Eddie Daniels on tenor and father Flavio on soprano, with drummer Humair escorting the band back to the theme. Witch Switch fuses jazz and funk, with soulful solos by Gruntz, alto icon Phil Woods, trumpet star Dusco Goykovich, trombonist Jiggs Whigham, and Humair. The beautiful English Waltz features trumpet greats, Woody Shaw and Benny Bailey, and on the fanciful The Tango, Bailey switches to flugelhorn followed by bass trombone, bowed bass, and some collective shenanigans. With its Mingus-like symphonic sound Gravenstein is a vehicle for Wood’s alto magic, while Saint Charity has a ‘Freedom Jazz Dance’ feel, with Herb Geller on soprano, Äke Persson’s boogaloo trombone solo, and Sahib Shihab’s muscular baritone. The Age of Prominence highlights solos that include two legendary Afro-American jazzmen – tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon and trumpeter Woody Shaw. An exceptional double-album both for its compositions, arrangements and the masterful improvisation; but don’t take my word for it: take a listen.