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Kerry Moffit's reputation in trumpet circles preceded him long before this recording. Like so many "you ought to hear this guy" types, one discounts friendships, hangs, boosters, and all the rest. Moffit, however, is "as advertised." There are quite a few people with underground reputations. Moffit's should be above ground. Listening to him, you might think, "ok, Tom Harrell," but then nobody is Tom Harrell except Tom Harrell. So, you are stuck for superlatives. As a player and composer, Moffit is, as they say, "deserving of wider recognition." He can play, and so can his bandmates. Moffit made his bones in service bands starting in the 1990s, and has toured extensively with a variety of them. Word does get around, especially in military towns like San Antonio, Texas, where such bands are based. So Moffit may be underground, but he is not unknown.
"This I Dig of You" and "But Beautiful" are standards, but not necessarily part of the trumpet repertoire. Moffit and his band do them jaw-dropping justice. Seth Ebersole and Ron Killips are exceptional, and Arlene Pritchard McDaniel, who handles keyboard, sets the table for them beautifully. You hear the harmonies and think, "well, they are not new," but here they appear in a different context. Moffit's "Free for All" is especially intriguing, if only because collective modal improvisation is quite unusual. If you've listened to Harrel or John McNeill, you will say, "ok, that's not new." But Moffit's chops, his ability to execute, is something else. The band cooks, whether in four four or three four. At times, in the lower register, Moffit's sound approaches the human voice. Well, maybe that will not impress too many listeners, but ask a horn player. Moffit's sound is beautiful as well, showcasing a lovely, well controlled vibrato.
This is another one of those recordings that becomes compulsive listening. Chops, harmony, taste: it's all here. And a nice mix of original compositions and classics. What more could you ask for?
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.