Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra: Brush Fire
Scott Gwinnell Jazz Orchestra
Brush Fire (WSG Records)
James Hughes, Steve Wood, Carl Cafagna, Shannon Ford (sax section), Patrick Hession, Rich Fanning, Brandon Cooper (trumpet section), John Rutherford, Andy James, John Paxton (trombones).
Composed and arranged by W. Scott Gwinnell.
Recorded: Detroit, Michigan, December, 2008
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
Against impossible odds, the Detroit jazz scene remains hot and continues to forge world-class players and ensembles. In the thick of it all you will find 34-year-old composer/pianist/author/educator Scott Gwinnell, who has played with heavy hitters from Joe Lovano to Dave Liebman as well as most of Motor Cityís jazz elite. His orchestra performs regularly at one of Detroitís swankiest watering holes, the ultra-classy Cliff Bells. Their second release, Brush Fire, offers moments of genuine spontaneous combustion, especially in the title track.
"Brush Fire" is a powerful, heady composition. After an opening Romanesque fanfare the head begs comparison to Freddie Hubbardís "Intrepid Fox," though not quite as dark. Once the form straightens out into an uplifting samba for the solos, Keith Kaminski spreads his wings in a sprightly soprano flight, followed by neo-cool ruminations by trumpeter Justin Walter. A brief, almost melodic drum solo takes it back to the head, then out with Kaminski and Walter trading fours traded on the turnaround. Overall the band is tight, the spirited arrangement lean, listenable and balanced. Even those who are lukewarm on big band music should be sufficiently ignited by this brush fire.
Reviewer: Bill Barnes