Reeves' second big band album for Origin features players in the top level of New York musicians. Saxophonists Steve Wilson, Vito Chiavuzzo, Tim Armacost and Rob Middleton are among the impressive soloists, along with trombonist Matt Haviland, trumpeter Andy Gravish, pianist Jim Ridl, and Reeves on flugelhorn and trombone. In Reeves' title tune Carolyn Leonhart's vocal is cool, contained and flawlessly delivered, however mundane the lyric. She might profitably have also been assigned a standard ballad with words by, say, Frank Loesser, Dorothy Fields or Johnny Mercer.
Reeves' trombone solo on his composition "Shapeshifter" hews to the piece's distinctive character; it is languid, then agitated and—finally—satisfyingly resolved. Indeed, that can be said of the leader's most adventurous writing here. In his liner notes he claims that the shout chorus in "All Or Nothing At All" has "more quotes than I care to admit." He needn't have lost sleep over it; the quotes are logical and fit the harmonies. Knowledgeable listeners will find them clever. Drummer Andy Watson is a rhythmic mainstay throughout the album, performing hand-in-hand with pianist Ridl and bassist Todd Coolman.
Moving on to other new, or newish, releases, let's not dwell on the customary Rifftides penchant for pointing out the obvious—that is there is more music than anyone can keep up with. Allow us to briefly (very briefly) alert you to recent releases that have caught the ear of the staff.