Eric Reed: Happiness

Eric Reed spent time working with Wynton Marsalis and has since gone on to lead his own groups and record dates. He’s assembled an impressive ensemble on Happiness (Nagel-Hayer 2010; 60:17) and framed them with inventive arrangements that bring out the special gifts of trumpeter Marcus Printup, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon and saxophonist Wessell Anderson. Reed occasionally borrows a page or two from the book of Ellington, though it’s more homage than imitation. The “Fine & Brown” section from Reed’s “Suite Sisters” is the kind of flip, riff-based blues that calls to mind Johnny Hodges, while the Latin-flavored “Devil in a Dress” is in the tradition of Juan Tizol’s “Caravan.” Other pleasures include the intimate, extended piano-trombone duet on “Mood Indigo,” and the saxophone chase with Anderson and Wayne Escoffery on the 12-bar blues “Crazy Red.” I can’t wait to hear this group in a live setting.