I Colori Del Mare is a remarkable collaborative effort. Schaechter, who started her career in Sicily, and her group draw us in as her contemporary compositions capture the many moods, colors and fragrances of the Mediterranean. She has considerable technical ability but, because of her clear touch and focus on the idea, the result is never flamboyance--If you are interested in her technique, listen a second time just for that purpose--.
The band's soloists are top-drawer, but even more noticeable is the groups ablity to blend, and to suddenly shift, like the ocean, from the lyrical to the percussive. Schaechter's opening "Dark Blue" sunset is followed by a definitely non-placid crossing, "Incrocio." "Terra Madre" is her heartfelt island homecoming as her vocal blends with the horns. The dawn is greeted with "Light Green," a classically-influenced theme with variations while the wistful "Sweet and Sour" conjures up memories. Berklee's Tiger Okoshi on trumpet and Walter Smith III on tenor free-wheel their way through the hard-boppish "Beat the Storm."
"Thinking of You" displays Schaechter's elegant and light touch while she scats up a storm on the only standard on the CD, "On a Clear Day." Smith is at his lyrical best in "The Moon and the Fisherman" and the voyage closes with "When the Turtle Meets the Ocean." My guess is that Oleg Osenkov and his bass play the turtle/discoverer!
Schaechter recently appeared on Marion McPartland's "Piano Jazz" and spoke of liking to challenge herself. Well, this challenge paid off in a gem of a CD.