Endangered Species is a fun album by the baritonist with Harry Connick Jr.’s big band. A couple of David Schumacher’s colleagues from the Connick band, tenorists Jerry Weldon and Ned Goold, even show up to help him out when he picks up the smaller horn for a three-tenor battle on his uptempo, Monkish blues “Arch’s Nutty Variation,” a reworking of the album’s earlier “Henry’s Mad, Crazy Blues.” On the latter, Schumacher plays baritone with Hammond B3 organist Rob Bargad and legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb. In fact, the group’s base instrumentation is the organ trio, with variations on that setup including three tracks that add smooth-toned trombonist Bob Trowers and one that features a five-man Latin percussion section plus Howard Johnson as a second baritonist.
The soloists are all firmly rooted in the bop and hard-bop traditions, Schumacher even occasionally tossing in a Bird lick or two. He gets around the big horn easily and can swing hard. On his ballad composition “I Think You Know,” his dark, heavy sound and throbbing vibrato engender great poignancy. Trowers shows impressive agility with precisely articulated lines. Bargad mines the soulful potential of his instrument, and Cobb brings a wealth of top-rung experience to the session.