Brandi Disterheft: Gratitude

Bassist Brandi Disterheft’s third record presents her first star-studded ensemble, with trumpeter Sean Jones and alto saxophonist Vincent Herring as lead horns (Anne Drummond is the flutist) and a rhythm section of drummer Gregory Hutchinson and pianist Renee Rosnes astride her bass. Her tunes make good use of this formidable sextet, beginning with a “Blues for Nelson Mandela” which features her Mingus-ian pluck and thwack after Rosnes and Hutchinson provide a memorable intro that is stately and snazzy at the same time.

A native of Vancouver, B.C., Disterheft is an artist of obvious ambition, and she scores as a player and composer. Regarding the latter role, her “Portrait of Duke” is a suite-like gem that perceptively explores various aspects of Ellingtonia. But her vocal covers range from dull (“But Beautiful”) to dreadful (a clueless, choppy, emotionally detached rendition of the Les McCann-Eddie Harris workout “Compared to What”).