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John Cocuzzi, vibraphone, piano, drums, vocals

CD Review – LIVE! In Cactus Country

Cactus Country CD cover

John Cocuzzi
Piano, vibraphone, vocal

Jeff Barnhart

High Sierra Jazz Band

Sine Qua Non-5

Titan Hot 7 Jazz Band


CD Title: LIVE! In Cactus Country"
by John Cocuzzi and assorted bands – ACWJ Records

L.A. JAZZ SCENE — Harvey Barkan
January 2007 (Page 26)
(Arizona Cactus World Jazz ACWJ-012)

The vibrancy and excitement of a live classic jazz festival is certainly captured on this CD. Trad fans and enthusiasts of hot jazz will find much to enjoy, with familiar tunes allowed plenty of time for excellent musicianship to challenge and personalize. This is an album of high-quality classic jazz, recorded live at the Arizona Classic Jazz Festival, featuring the versatile John Cocuzzi with an unusual approach; Cocuzzi is featured with three very popular, top jazz ensembles: High Sierra Jazz Band, Sine Qua Non-5, and Titan Hot 7. Between tunes by each group, Cocuzzi is featured on twin Steinway grand pianos, with Jeff Barnhart. This makes for an unusual presentation and showcase for Cocuzzi's substantial talents and abilities on vibes, piano, and even (two) vocals.

The play list has John Cocuzzi playing with High Sierra: "I've Found a New Baby," "Wabash Blues," and "I'd Do Anything for You"; on twin Steinway grands: "Mean to Me" and "'S Wonderful;" with Sine Qua Non-5: "Jubilee" and "After You've Gone;" on twin Steinway grands: "The Mooch" and "How High the Moon"; and Titan Hot 7: "Dinah," "Got the World on a String," and "Avalon." Some wonderful tunes by some wonderful, hard-driving bands!

My CD was a pre-marketing sample, lacking full identification of most of the splendid musicians in the three ensembles, mentioning only John Sheridan (piano) and the identifiable Allan Vaché (clarinet) in Sine Qua Non-5, and Jeff Barnhart on piano duos with Cocuzzi. However, I've been assured that purchased CDs will include the much-deserved name credits of all the other fine classic jazz musicians in all of the bands. I always want to know to whom I am listening!

This desirable CD was produced for the benefit of the Arizona Classic Jazz Society's youth programs by the amazingly-prolific Barker Hickox, as yet another gesture of gratitude for what classic jazz has meant to his life. It is available on-line from or via U.S. mail from Arizona Classic Jazz Society, 10918 E. Michigan Ave., Sun Lakes, AZ 85248. Cost is $16, plus $4 shipping and handling.
— Harvey Barkan


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