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Musicians play Irving Berlin because he makes them sound good. The pretty songs make you sound poetic just reading; the tapinflected songs Astaire introduced will bring out your swing if you have any. So what you get with Irving Berlin is melody so strong and self-supporting it keeps its integrity, no matter how stretched or yanked from context. And you get music so common, to America and to jazz at least, musicians may make free with it without losing you. You have, in short, perfect fodder for Clusone 3 – which they knew even before they were approached about doing an unspecified concept album. While feasting on the individual selections, please note how nicely programmed this disc is. As live, Clusone 3 cut the wide open stuff with tight swingers. You can argue for cosmic implications: the music expands and contracts like the universe. Or you can just say the rhythm’s as natural as breathing: in, out, in, out. — Kevin Whitehead