Tony Martucci: Life in Hand

With such empathetic players as pianist Marc Copland, trumpeter John D’earth and bassist Tom Baldwin onboard, the flexible D.C.-based drummer-bandleader Tony Martucci steers from inside to outside with ease and authority. On “The Other Shoe,” the band navigates a knotty postboppish theme before segueing into a free-blowing section where Copland and D’earth shine. Baldwin’s warmly engaging “Minoresque,” his crackling “Writes Left Rides Right” and Martucci’s swinging “Teehmsee” are all firmly in the straight-ahead camp. Copland, a master of harmonic intrigue, contributes the mysterious “Slow Hand” and the pensive “The Sun at the Zenith,” both underscored by Martucci’s keenly interactive commentary on the kit and featuring outstanding trumpet work from the criminally overlooked D’earth. They stretch freely on “I’m Old Fashioned” before closing with Martucci’s breezy, “Dolphin Dance”-styled number “Emily’s Star,” which showcases D’earth’s flugelhorn playing.