Thursday, June 23, 2016

Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra: Portraits and Places

Origin Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Portraits and Places

Great jazz orchestras are harder to find these days than the proverbial hen’s tooth. The general public no longer desires to hear the music that made the Big Band years so fantastic, and established talents such as Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Gene Krupa, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Stan Kenton and so many others. Groups like those are no longer cost-effective to work or tour with. 

Thankfully, a market still exists for the smaller combos that jazz clubs and CD sales can support, but the excitement of those larger, grooving organizations has become only an occasional joy.

Which is why, when such a unit has been assembled, by artists who miss them as much as we do, we’ve got to pay attention and get the word out as quickly as possible. After all, we don’t want the effort to become just another memory. 

This fantastic release by the Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra is not to be missed.

Twenty swingers participated in this gem: six in the reed section, nine in the brass sections, and three in the rhythm section, along with a couple of vocalists. Reeves doubles as conductor.

He also composed and/or arranged most of the charts, and they’re all swingers. The melodic lines are clever, with enough thematic “quotes” to keep listeners on their toes, and there’s lots of “space” for solo work. It’s all super.

It’s easy to tell when artists enjoy what they’re playing, and these guys clearly had a ball during this session. Don’t you dare miss this release ... and let’s hope that others will follow in the future.

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