Big bands (and good ones at that) are rare these days. This release, Lee's first foray into large band work, is a delectable entry equally indebted to the modern big bands of Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Bob Brookmeyer or Maria Schneider and modern classical music (that's where Lee's "friendly dissonance" gets its genes). Like Schneider, Lee dabbles in a rich Gil Evanescent color palette-particularly in the low brass writing. Lush, patient use of space gives soloists like Renato Caranto (on "Sentimental Fool"), Tim Jensen ("Bitter Wind") and Farnell Newton (Rodgers and Hart's "Where or When") plenty of room to have their say. Lee's "Tobacco Monkey" is simply one of the most infectious grindhouse-meets-crime jazz themes outside of Mancini's "Peter Gunn" or Quincy Jones' Pawnbroker soundtrack.