Peter Compo: In Europe

Following a long career as a jazz bassist of uncommonly broad and varied experience, since 1984 Pete Compo has concentrated on his childhood instrument, the violin, and has brought the style and sound of the great Stuff Smith into the modern era. Here, accompanied by three different European rhythm sections, Compo directs his talents toward 16 tunes, the majority of which are long-established standards. But his three originals, “All of a Sudden,” “Sleeper” and “Stuffin’,” are of equally high quality. Although all of the numbers were arranged by Compo, the emphasis throughout is on swinging improvisation and group interplay. Among the sidemen, only single-string banjoist Eddy Davis is an American, and it is a happy surprise to hear how well this longtime trad bandsman adapts himself to Compo’s rather modern charts on “Calliope” and “Sleeper.” No boxed-in categories for him, nor, for that matter, for Compo either.