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Walt Weiskopf Nonet: Siren

Reprising the nonet format he used so effectively on 1996’s Song for My Mother, tenor titan Walt Weiskopf again proves to be a compelling writer-arranger. Reflecting influences ranging from Gil Evans to Don Sebesky, Weiskopf’s kaleidoscopic program includes barnburners (“Zone”), shimmering soundscapes (“Siren”) and a pun-in-cheek novelty, “Glass Eye,” a wry tip-of-the-triad to Philip Glass.

Also reprised from Weiskopf’s benchmark 1996 date is the seasoned cast of New York all-stars: flutist Anders Bostrom, altoist Jim Snidero, baritone saxist Scott Robinson, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, trombonist Conrad Herwig, bassist Doug Weiss, drummer Billy Drummond and pianist-brother Joel Weiskopf. Given its collective history of varied bandstand-raisings, the nonet sounds like its been on the road for years. Everything cooks. Nothing is overdone. And, oh my, what grooves! For a sample, check out the rolling 6/8 waves buoying the leader’s edgy charting of Snidero’s “In a Daze.”

Highlights abound. Weiskopf’s luminous blending of flute, alto, tenor, bari, trumpet and trombone for the dreamy “Close Your Eyes” is a slow-mo showstopper. For flat-out flying, there’s the fleet fingered “Zone.” As for solos, the lineup, a veritable murderers’ row with the powerful Weiskopf batting cleanup, lights up the scoreboard each time out.

Originally Published