Saturday , March 2 2024
After years of writing for Dave Liebman’s Big Band, the Westchester Jazz Orchestra, Bill Mobley’s Smoke Big Band, and the BMI Jazz Composers Orchestra, brassman/composer Scott Reeves launched his own 16-piece jazz orchestra in 2008. Their 2016 debut release, Portraits and Places, features seven Reeves originals, along with his arrangement of Jobim’s, “Waters of March.” He has forged an original compositional style which All About Jazz described as “varied and substantial, ranging from hard bop and Latin oriented French impressionist influences. His arrangements are restless, full of color, and provide ample solo space...amidst variable underpinnings.”

Music Review: Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra – ‘Portraits and Places’

Displaying the glitter of big band music and the fast-paced rhythms of swing, the Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra has the ingredients for creating party bashes done with class and pizzazz on their recording, Portraits and Places.  The big sound emanating from the fleet of horns is intensifying, making the music jump out of its listening apparatus.  The music engulfs listeners in its pulsating raptures and glistening textures, making for music that stirs excitement and the impulse to experience fun.

'Portraits and Places' from the Scott Reeves Jazz OrchestraThe feathered saxophone toots of “Osaka June” are draped in whipping horns which recede, making space for the shimmery gilding of the piano keys.  Sonically pleasing, the track is imbued with a classic jazz vibe while steeply entrenched in modern jazz mechanics.  Looking to the principles of vintage swing, the songs are fashioned from a present-day state of mind as the fluttering wails of the saxophone along “Aquas De Marco” resounds a Latin accent in the rhythmic pattern, and the horns leap with agile fingers guiding them.

Every note is thought-out and placed precisely to create a mellifluous sound flowing with smooth fluidity. The upbeat rhythm of the bass, drums and horns along “L & T Suite (Movement 1: Wants to D)” has a magnetic feel, attracting listeners with its positively charged sparks.  The dialog which the horns form along the track is alive with energy and spirit. The orchestra slows down to a cool simmering coast along “L & T (Movement 2: A Trombone),” resembling the sensual, earthy texture of Eden Ahbez’s “Nature Boy.”

“L & T (Movement 3: Hip Kitty)” finds the orchestra returning to its original cheerful form with an upbeat tempo and freely prancing keys.  “Last Call” softens the pace to a cozy strut as the horns lengthen, sputter and recoil brusquely while the rhythm section plays a cool jazz thumping, and the quick step tempo of “3 n 2” has all the glitter and panache of the Big Band Era.  The fluttering and flailing of the horns are joined by toe-tapping drumbeats and bopping bass pulls as the SRJO enmeshes itself in this number.

The Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra shows they give it their all in the renderings of these tunes.  It’s a 100% pure big band jazz.  The tunes are rife with celebration and spirit, leaving listeners feeling the joy.


Scott Reeves – conductor, composer, arranger, alto flugelhorn; Seneca Black – trumpet, flugelhorn; Nathan Eklund – trumpet, flugelhorn; Bill Mobley – trumpet, flugelhorn; Andy Gravish – trumpet, flugelhorn, Steve Wilson – alto, soprano sax, flute; Vito Chiavuzzo –  alto sax, flute; Rob Middleton – tenor sax, clarinet; Tim Armacost – tenor sax, clarinet; Jay Brandford – baritone sax, bass clarinet; Terry Goss – baritone sax, bass clarinet; Tim Sessions – trombone; Matt McDonald – trombone; Matt Haviland – trombone; Max Seigel – bass trombone; Jim Ridl – piano; Todd Coolman – bass; Andy Watson – drums; Sara Serpa – voice; Emi Miyajima Nobe and Yuzuki Nobe – Japanese dialogue


“The Soulful Mr. Williams,” “3 ‘n 2,” “Osaka June,” “Aquas De Marco,” “L & T Suite (Movement 1: Who Wants to Dance),” “L & T Suite (Movement 2: A Trombonist’s Tale),” “L & T Suite (Movement 3: Hip Kitty),” “Last Call”

About susanfrancesny

Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in eastern Long Island.

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