NIA Quintet: End of Time (2005)
These young lads abide a clearly stated path on this most impressive outing. With that notion in mind, it's almost a rarity these days to hear a new jazz ensemble differentiate itself from the pack. Besides strong soloing by trumpeter Scott Anderson, pianist Vaitsas and the remaining members of the quintet, the musicians evidence some quality shedding time. Another differentiator pertains to Anderson's memorable compositions, often generated with distinct harmonic developments.
Whether the band is slashing and dashing through post bop numbers comprised of flashy maneuvers and zippy horn charts or delivering soulful ballads, these pieces impart a sustainable impression. On "End of Time, Daniel Nicholson renders a stirring tenor sax solo to offset a sanguine melody line and Vaitsas' zesty blues-gospel piano phrasings. And the band mixes it up rather nicely by navigating through variable swing pulses, abetted by the hornists' cheery unison choruses.
The musicians toss a few unexpected curves into the production, as witnessed on the final two pieces, where Anderson sits at the piano for a tender recital, followed by a haunting duet motif by Anderson (flugelhorn) and Nicholson (alto flute). But the quintet's forthright mission of execution, substantiated by unwavering commitment, delivers the winning edge.
Track Listing: Second Chance; Movement; Bellamy's Dance; Where I Stand; About You; End Of Time; Once More; Half-Way; Past, Present, Future; Gelfing's Parable.
Personnel: Scott Anderson: trumpet, flugelhorn, solo piano (9); Daniel Nicholson: saxophones, alto flute (10); Tom Vaitsas: piano, Fender Rhodes (7); Patrick Williams: bass; Greg Wyser-Pratte: drums.