Walt_weiskopf-siren_span3
June 2001

Walt Weiskopf Nonet
Siren
Criss Cross Jazz

Reprising the nonet format he used so effectively on 1996's Song for My Mother, tenor titan Walt Weiskopf again proves to be a compelling writer-arranger. Reflecting influences ranging from Gil Evans to Don Sebesky, Weiskopf's kaleidoscopic program includes barnburners ("Zone"), shimmering soundscapes ("Siren") and a pun-in-cheek novelty, "Glass Eye," a wry tip-of-the-triad to Philip Glass.

Also reprised from Weiskopf's benchmark 1996 date is the seasoned cast of New York all-stars: flutist Anders Bostrom, altoist Jim Snidero, baritone saxist Scott Robinson, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, trombonist Conrad Herwig, bassist Doug Weiss, drummer Billy Drummond and pianist-brother Joel Weiskopf. Given its collective history of varied bandstand-raisings, the nonet sounds like its been on the road for years. Everything cooks. Nothing is overdone. And, oh my, what grooves! For a sample, check out the rolling 6/8 waves buoying the leader's edgy charting of Snidero's "In a Daze."

Highlights abound. Weiskopf's luminous blending of flute, alto, tenor, bari, trumpet and trombone for the dreamy "Close Your Eyes" is a slow-mo showstopper. For flat-out flying, there's the fleet fingered "Zone." As for solos, the lineup, a veritable murderers' row with the powerful Weiskopf batting cleanup, lights up the scoreboard each time out.

Originally published in June 2001
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