How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Although this is trumpeter Michael Philip Mossman’s second release as leader on the Swiss TCB label, I’d previously heard him only in the confines of big–band recordings, and this was the first chance to listen to him “stretch” with his own smaller group. Stretch he can, and stretch he does in a buoyant and colorful session that, while not billed as “Latin Jazz,” could well be, as all compositions (except for the standard “All the Things You Are”) and arrangements are Mossman’s, and more than half of them sway to the seductive Latin rhythms he favors. “All the Things” is especially engaging, sporting a lustrous new rhythmic coat of paint to accommodate radiant solos by Mossman and Latin–leaning soulmate Mintzer on tenor. Also on the menu are a calypso/reggae piece (“Ronita’s Fantasy”), a bossa/montuno (“Bossanita,” for Mossman’s daughter), a cha–cha (“Mama Soho“) and a samba (“Brokenhearted”). “No Peeking,” which Mossman says was inspired by the work of Clare Fischer, is, surprisingly, not Latin at all, nor are “Yvelse’s Dance” (written for Mossman’s wife), the relatively tranquil “My Sentiments” (dedicated to Duke Ellington and Miles Davis) and the shuffling closer, “Firewalk Strut” (on which Mossman plays trombone). Mossman is a superb soloist, passionate yet always logical with marvelous technique — on the order of a more piquant Claudio Roditi or a lower–register Arturo Sandoval. Mintzer, who plays flute on the first two selections and on “Yvelse’s Dance” and “Brokenhearted,” complements him well, while the rhythm section is suitably muscular and audacious, especially pianist Drew whose comping is sometimes a touch too emphatic (although his solos invariably sparkle). An ardent and persuasive set of Latin/American Jazz that is sure to please devotees of both schools.
Track listing: Ronita’s Fantasy; Bossanita; All the Things You Are; Mamo Soho; Yvelse’s Dance; Brokenhearted; No Peeking; My Sentiments; The Firewalk Strut (59:19).
Michael Philip Mossman, trumpet, flugelhorn, trombone; Bob Mintzer, tenor saxophone, flute; Kenny Drew Jr., piano; Bobby Sanabria, percussion; James Genus, bass; Mark Walker, drums.