Ed Neumeister: New Standards

Nothing unusual about a musician taking the plunge and moving to Europe to enhance his career-especially Ed Neumeister, premier plungermeister, who honed his growling in the best possible context: the Ellington band under Duke’s son Mercer (1981-1996). His latest release, New Standards (Meistero), offers remarkable insight into Neumeister as trombonist, composer and arranger. A product of San Francisco, Neumeister first resided in Europe when he was 21. He kept moving back and forth across the Pond, gaining more than frequent flyer miles: he is now equally fluent in the worlds of classical and jazz and currently teaching jazz composition at a conservatory in Lucerne, Switzerland, and jazz trombone at a university near his home in Graz, Austria. Neumeister’s writing skills light up “Spring Street” with awkward intervals that he effortlessly negotiates. His arranging chops can be heard on “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Speak Low,” and reveal his mischievous sense of musical humor, toying with time on both. As for the plunging, it transforms Jimmy Rowles’ classic “The Peacocks.” He’s blessed with alert trio backing, particularly from pianist Fritz Pauer.