Chip Shelton: More What Flutes 4…Live!

Efficiently delivered if not particularly energetic, More What Flutes 4…Live! is at its best when showcasing the spacious flute work of frontman Chip Shelton, whose ripping riffs and warm melodic explorations capture the joyful improvisation of live play. With only occasional exceptions, the rest of the band seems to hang back, providing only cursory backdrops on tunes like “Invitation,” where Shelton’s melodic sweep floats over a swinging, jazzy feel, and the creeping, almost reggae-tempoed take on Grover Washington Jr.’s signature tune, “Mister Magic.” Guitarist Ryo Kawasaki does step out for a lithe, spindly solo on the extended “More What Flutes 4,” but it’s Shelton’s show, as the flutist segues from smooth melody lines to ragged-edged trills and pops. An odd fluttering conga keeps this particular track off-kilter and somewhat strained. The mellow, traditional “Lester Leaps In” provides intrigue by way of musical conversation between Shelton and Kawasaki, making space for the type of stretching improvisation audiences hope for in a live set.