Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra – “Speak Low”

Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra, “Speak Low,” from Without a Trace

In addition to being an in-demand trombonist and professor at the City College of New York, Scott Reeves is an abundantly skilled composer and arranger, with a reputation for merging edgy, non-traditional harmonies with timeless grooves and forms. Without a Trace is his namesake orchestra’s sophomore album for Seattle-based Origin Records, and it provides an excellent glimpse into Reeve’s compositional style. Featuring some of New York’s top-flight jazz artists — including saxophonist Steve Wilson and vocalist Carolyn Leonhart — the album pairs original compositions by Reeves with invigorating arrangements of songbook standards.

Our Song of the Day is the orchestra’s version of “Speak Low,” a Kurt Weill classic refashioned here as a medium-tempo Afro-Cuban tune. The arrangement enshrouds the familiar melody in exotic harmonies and rhythms, imbuing the proceedings with bristling energy. The charged musical atmosphere is a boon for soprano saxophonist Steve Wilson, the song’s featured soloist, who unleashes streams of hot-to-the-touch sax lines during his moment in the spotlight. Drummer Andy Watson keeps the whole thing pulled taught with explosive grooves that are both steadfast and reactive.

Like what you hear? Buy this album from Amazon or iTunes today. 

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