A fine trombonist and alto flugelhornist, Scott Reeves has led small groups but it is with big bands that he really excels. He first recorded with the Indiana University Jazz Ensemble in 1969 but more significant have been his recorded arrangements and solos with orchestras led by Dave Liebman, Michael Treni and Bill Mobley. His own orchestra's debut recording was 2015's Portraits and Places. For the latest recording by his 17-piece band, Reeves contributed arrangements to seven pieces, four of which are his. He also plays and takes a solo apiece on both his instruments.
The date begins with a stirring version of Kurt Weill-Ogden Nash's "Speak Low", an AfroCuban flavored rendition with strong solos from alto saxophonist Steve Wilson and trumpeter Chris Rogers. Reeves' title track has a guest vocal by Carolyn Leonhart, who handles the wide intervals very well on a piece that is not too singable. The Arthur Altman Jack Lawrence standard "All Or Nothing At All", which is modernized a bit while keeping the melody intact, has a colorful trombone solo from the leader. Moody and atmospheric original ballad "Incandescence" has vibraphonist Dave Ellson's lone appearance and a spot for Wilson on soprano. Wayne Shorter's "Juju" is taken for a stormy ride; the saxophone section plays two choruses from Shorter's original recorded solo while tenor saxophonist Rob Middleton gets to solo over a newer version borrowed from the composer.
"Shapeshifter", using a 12-tone row, goes through several different sections, has an alto flugelhorn solo and gets quite free in the last part when pianist Jim Ridl is featured. "Something For Thad" uses rhythm changes, tips its cap to Thad Jones (sounding in spots a little bit like his "Fingers") and features hot solos from trombonist Matt Haviland and trumpeter Andy Gravish. This is an excellent example of both modern big band music and the arranging of Reeves.