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The Minute Game by Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra West

Scott Whitfield is truly versatile. For one, he is a respected trombonist, arranger and sometime singer; for another, he maintains two big bands Scott Whitfield's Jazz Orchestra East and Jazz Orchestra West. The former can heard on last year's "Live at Birdland" CD and the latter now on "The Minute Game."

The new recording features bright tuneful arrangements of eight Whitfield originals interspersed with two standards. The recording also provides ample solo space for band members, all top-flight West Coast musicians. And, of particular interest, his arrangements creatively showcase various sections.

The album gets off to a swinging start with Hank Mobley's "This I Dig of You," spotlighting the tenors, Roger Neumann, Rusty Higgins and Ray Herrman. Each take a couple choruses with the trio ending up trading fours.

Democratically, "Splat!," features features trombonists Whitfield, Bryant Byers and Gary Tole, in a tune humorously based on the instrument's guttural sound on low "F." After solos, the trio also happily go back and forth in four bar exchanges.

Getting a lot of play on jazz stations is Lee Morgan's beautiful "Ceora." Here Whitfield uses a waltz tempo in his orchestration, with Anne King soloing impressively on flugelhorn. The sound of flutes weaving throughout, add considerable charm.

Trumpet players King, Larry Williams and Roger Ingram are let go on the hard-driving title track, "The Minute Game." Additionally, Whitfield and drummer Kendall Kay have fun in their rousing interplay. Another pleaser, "To Be There" gives space to Tom Rainier on piano and provides Jennifer Leitham room for a choice bass solo.

Whitfield sings pleasantly in a soft, smoky Mel Torme-style on two numbers-his very personal "City Butterfly," dedicated to his wife, an airline attendant, and the familiar "Moonlight in Vermont," buoyed by Tole's muted trombone in the background.

Among the rest, the biggest kick and creative high point is "Hiccups." Whitfield's inspiration for this came when he heard his baby daughter hiccuping after taking her bottle too fast. The sound of her affliction is onomatopoeically happily created throughout.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Scott Whitfield Jazz Orchestra West
  • CD Title: The Minute Game
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Summit Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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