TEXTURES…Ken Schaphorst Big Band: How to Say Goodbye, Dino Massa Kansas City Quintet: Echoes of Europe

Sometimes, the allure of jazz is not in the solos, but in the harmonies of the arrangements. Here are two excellent examples of what can be accomplished with some forethought in both large and smaller ensembles.

Besides leading a large ensemble that includes Matt Wilson/dr, Brad Shepik/g, Uri Caine/p, Donny McCaslin/ts and Ralph Alessi/tp-fh, composer-arranger Ken Schaphorst plays trumpet and keyboards on  a couple of these sophisticated works of art. His keyboards get soulful along with some rich section work and trombone solos by Curtis Hasselbring/tb and McCaslin. The rich horns hover during Caine’s solo on “Float” and the brass is ultra hip and shiny as the frame McCaslin on “Blues For Herb.” The reeds swing and sway for Michael Thomas’ alto solo on “Amnesia” and Wilson gets snappy as he drives the orchestra in 5th during “Descent.” A fun one!

Composer/arranger Dino Massa accomplishes much on a smaller scale. Christopher Burnett/as, Charles Gatschet/g, Andrew W. Stinson/b and Clarence Smith/dr form the core with Massa’s piano while guests including Freda Proctor-Terri Anderson Burnett/fl and Marcus Hampton-Stanton Kessler/tp-fh veer in and out of the seven pieces like characters in an Agatha Christie novel. The pieces are well structured with a chamber feel, with soft and warm flutes floating on the Latin “Imagine” and fluffing with the flugelhorns on “Natos.” Massa’s piano and Gatschet’s guitar form a quiet interlude with Burnett’s sweet alto on “Echoes of Europe” and the lithe pulses of “Remembering” and “Paris” are rich water colors of sound. Like listening to Monet.



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