Ensemble 9: Children of the Night

Led by trumpeter Rob Parton, this Chicago-based nonet actually employs 12 musicians. Their shifting participation in this session’s eight performances serves to indicate just how potent that city’s reserve of players is. The core instrumentation of the group is two trumpets, trombone, three saxes doubling on woodwinds and three rhythm players, which interestingly is the same number and combination of instruments, give or take the presence of a banjo or guitar, as used by most “big” bands in the 1920s and early ’30s. Here, though, Parton and the other writers-trombonists Paul McKee and Mike Moore, altoman Jim Gailloreto and band friends Cliff Colnet and Kirk Garrison-go far beyond the close triadic and quartal voicings common not only to stock arrangements of the ’20s and ’30s, but also to the more forward-looking scores of Don Redman, Fletcher Henderson and Bill Challis in the pre-swing era.

With ample open space for such soloists as tenorman Mark Colby, trumpeter Ron Friedman, pianist Karl Montzka and the aforementioned players, the charts include Wayne Shorter’s “Children of the Night” and “Footprints,” John Coltrane’s “Naima,” Herbie Hancock’s “One Finger Snap,” Charles Mingus’ “Goodbye Porkpie Hat” and Miles Davis’ “Nardis.”