Junk Wagon: The Big Band Album
With Junk Wagon, trumpeter-composer-arranger John Daversa offers a hard-hitting big-band project that owes more to the Brecker Brothers and Jaco Pastorius’ Word of Mouth than to Ellington, Basie or Kenton. On the dynamic two-part “The Bridge,” Daversa brandishes some wicked wah-wah trumpet over a pulsating groove while the horns chime in with intricate counterpoint. The title track is a complex suite that seamlessly blends rock energy and riffing with sophisticated horn voicings and radical mood shifts. Daversa breaks out his synth-sounding EVI on this track as well as on “Internal” and the aggressively swinging “Cheeks.” Flutist Katisse Buckingham is featured on the slow-grooving “Camels,” and the lush ballad “Most of All” offers a calming moment and features some virtuosic bass clarinet playing by Bob Carr. Everything else on this boundary-stretching big-band album follows a take-no-prisoners formula.