Album: Mark Lockheart and the NDR Big Band, Days Like These (Fuzzy Moon)

Give some jazz musicians an orchestra to work with and you get scaled-up felt-tip sketches.

Composer/arranger/conductor/saxophonist Lockheart uses the whole box of crayons, as well as playing some excellent soprano sax solos himself. The 18-piece band rhythmically rocks its socks off, and percussionist Marcio Doctor is revealed as a star, enlivening the Mingus-like sonorities with some drum'n'bassy urgency. It's a Lockheart retrospective, with tunes drawn from throughout his career. The opener, "Rag", is particularly outstanding.