Gypsy Schaeffer, the foursome made up by Joel Yennior (trombone), Andy Voelker (saxophones), Chris Punis (drums) and Jef Charland (bass) calls its third CD quite simply New Album. That's a truism, as is the fact that it continues to make music that is fun and enjoyable.
The writing, ascribed to the group collectively, as well as to Yennior and Voelker individually, moves from swing to open-ended improvisation, the band demonstrating its ability to sit comfortably in all the situations.
The opening "New Egypt" has the dynamics plumbed by Voelker and Yennior through crisscrossing lines; having established the angular, they settle down nicely into blithe swing. The happy mood is also found in the romping march beat of "Grape Soda and Pretzels." Voelker gives the tune a darker edge as he curls the melody with abrasive lines; but even as he does this, he makes sure that the melody is not clouded. Charland zips in and bounces on the bass before Yennior closes it out with studied lines that once more pay homage to the melody.
Mood and a change of pace mark the "Call to Arms"; here the power of invention is galvanized into a new trajectory, the path decided on the go. It's an enlightening exposure as they work with an ear for development, listening to one another and mining rich lore.
A turn for the blues comes on "Double Quartet," with the trombone crying out and the drums splashing dollops of color. It's a forlorn sounding tune with the brass upfront and lonely, while the rhythm section adds an uppity pulse. The twain does meet, and it is at the crossroads of earthy interpolation.
Gypsy Schaeffer keeps on ticking with another expansive set.
Personnel: Andy Voelker: saxophones; Joel Yennior: trombone; Jef Charland: bass; Chris Punis: drums.