Out of the gate it might be a good idea to explain the name of this outfit. It's simple. Co-led by Denver area trumpet ace Al Hood and pianist Dave Hanson, this is a no-punches pulled gathering of some of the premier studio cats in Los Angeles. Featured are such stars as Gary Foster, alto sax, clarinet and flute; Carl Saunders, trumpet; Andy Martin, trombone; Larry Koonse, guitar; and Joe LaBarbera, drums. Also on board are singer René Marie, who hits a free wheeling groove on three of her own compositions (the sensuous "Black Lace Freudian Slip," a fiery cousin of Bob Dorough's "Better Than Anything" called "I Like You," and "Autobiography," a change of pace with a sensitive lyric). Other highlights include Foster's solid clarinet work on a second-line-ish thing called "B in C"; his shimmering alto feature on "You Go to My Head"; and a freshly fashioned "It Could Happen to You," with a Phil Woods-like alto solo from Rich Chiaraluce and some trumpet virtuosity from Carl Saunders. Or for a nice kick, there's Hanson's "C.P. You," a tricky up-tempo romp with an especially ripping solo from co-leader Hood. On all these and more the H2 Big Band certainly seems to be enjoying the ride. I think you will too.