The karmic reference of the subtitle of this recording gives the impression that there's a surprise lurking somewhere in trumpeter/composer/arranger Kerry Moffit's jazz bag of tricks. The album, Moffit's first release after his spending decades starring in a U.S. Air Force band, is a superb presentation of jazz classics and originals. With this fine offering the perfect circle is formedold and new, flowing in both directions.
Moffit and crew launch things tastefully vintage with a cool take on Hank Mobley's "This I Dig of You." There the leader shrewdly digs all his playmates before launching into his own terrific improv. The rarely recorded Shorty Rogers bouncer "Just a Few" is classic West Coast cool, offering a fine Terry Newman bass ride, Moffit aping Clark Terry, and Rob Killips' noteworthy trombone, all soloing over Ian LeVine's boss brushes and Luther Allison's "cute" comps. Woody Shaw's "Katrina Ballerina" and the overly recorded but we love it so"But Beautiful" complete the look into the rearview mirror.
The "new" here are intriguing originals from Moffit. From a compositional standpoint, he has vision, emotional depth, and taste. For example, "Life, Love Loss" is a dark, dramatic, lachrymose platform for Moffit's gorgeous flugelhorn and Ebersole's tenor. A fierce "10-4" drives a hard car chase and "M.L." is a cooker drawn from 1960s hot Blue Note "Art Blakey seeds."
Moffit is a superbly inventive player with a terrific sound and great command. Improvisationally, he stylistically straddles classic bop lines with appealing modern ideas. His most interesting work on the session is the aptly-titled "Free for All," a free effortand an album highlightwhere all engage in a less constrictive soundscape.
The leader's savvy arrangements for the seven-man ensemble offer the gravitas of a big band with the flexibility of a smaller group. The members of the septet add marvelous energy throughout the session.
Turning Circles is an upbeat, swinging and all-around fine side. There are no squares or curds here. Mr. Moffit has found his way to offer a super-spinning wheel.
This I Dig of You; Just a Few; Free for All; Katrina Ballerina; Life, Love, Loss ... Mvt. 2, Suite Lier;
10-4 Jam; M.L.; But Beautiful.