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The truest measure of artistic respect doesn’t lie in repeating previous innovations. It comes from building upon and extending those concepts, as the MJO has done here – not only in the use of updated harmonies and more sophisticated rhythms, but also in the addition of strings on several tracks, expanding the range of colors and textures at the arrangers’ disposal.

The decision to add Alexander – the pitch-perfect, improbably versatile Chicago vocalist, who works in settings that run from intimate trios playing the Great American Songbook to jazz orchestras presenting the Great Black Music of the AACM – came easy. Like most arrangers who encounter Alexander, Gailloreto knew immediately that he wanted to work with her.

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