Thursday, September 3, 2009

Scott Reeves Quintet: Shape Shifter

Miles High Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 9.3.09
Buy CD: Shape Shifter

Chicago-born Scott Reeves is an innovative musician, composer, arranger and educator. He began playing the trombone when he was 10, having been turned on by Count Basie's bands of the 1950s and '60s. After earning a master's degree in music from Indiana University, he worked with a number of Midwest bands.

Reeves has been on the faculty of a number of major institutions, including Juilliard, the University of Southern Maine and City College of New York. He also has written several books that are widely used in schools; after moving to New York in 1999, he played with a number of name groups.

He currently leads two bands: Manhattan Bones, which has four trombones and a rhythm section; and the quintet featured on this album (which uses the same rhythm section).

Although Reeves is best known as a trombonist, he doesn't play that instrument here. On seven of the nine tracks, he uses an alto flugelhorn, which is pitched a fifth lower than the standard version; as Reeves describes it, the tone is a combination of a valve trombone, French horn and regular flugelhorn.

On the other tracks, he switches to an alto valve trombone (the standard instrument, with one-third of the tubing cut off).

Whatever. They both sound great.

Reeves composed and arranged all the tunes. The result is relatively complex, “thinking man's jazz” that is melodic and swings nicely.

No comments: