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The Bruce Eskovitz Jazz Orchestra returns with its second CD, Invitation, playing music that includes bop, salsa and samba. Much of it sits well within the confines of the orchestra.
Eskovitz wrote all of the compositions except two, which stand out not only for their arrangements, but for the way the soloists keep the groove alive. The first of these is Herb Ellis' "Detour Ahead." Eskovitz's tenor saxophone dips into the melody with becoming warmth, while the horns form a velvet backdrop. He turns his phrases around just enough for impact. The other cover is "Red Clay. The whole is grasped compactly by the soloists, beginning with Andrew Lippman on the trombone. Jeff Jarvis is incisive on the trumpet and Ian Robbins shows a nice flow of ideas on the guitar. Eskovitz cuts a deeper swath on the tenor with burly, flying notes before Adam Cohen casts a lighter shadow on the electric bass by staying in a compact groove. The appeal is enhanced by the luminous lines of the orchestra.
One Last Time is a slow blues that captures a coiled intensity thanks to Eskovitz and Larry Williams on the trumpet. Both delve into the center and open a heartfelt exposition of the theme.
Latin Fever is another Eskovitz composition that lays it on the line and comes up trumps. The tune sparkles and is pushed on by Jarvis and Williams, whose inventive changes are pushed on by their animated conversation. The rhythm of the salsa has to be of the moment; Angel Figueroa lets it bloom vividly on percussion.
Eskovitz and his orchestra turn it on and entertain with Invitation.
Track Listing: Breakthrough; Damien's Dance; Invitation; Latin Fever; Detour Ahead; Just in the "Newk" of Time; Dialogue; A Walk in the Park; Red Clay; One Last Time
Personnel: Dr. Bruce Eskovitz: tenor and soprano saxophones, alto flute; Billy Kerr: alto saxophone, flute; Larry Williams,Jeff Jarvis: trumpet and flugelhorn; Andrew Lippman: trombone; Ian Robbins: guitar; Mark Balling: keyboards; Adam Cohen: basses: Angel Figueroa: percussion; Steve Barnes: drums