Featuring acclaimed NY Trumpeter Tatum Greenblatt, cited by Wynton Marsalis as “one of his favorite young trumpet players,” the Verve Jazz Ensemble projects a wide array of richly developed voices on this compelling compilation of music. From reinterpreted Bebop standards (Lady Bird, Boplicity, and Jordu), to a dynamic big band reduction (Big Swing Face, originally made famous by Buddy Rich), to two distinct treatments of well-loved jazz classics (Henry Mancini’s The Days of Wine and Roses, and Oscar Hammerstein’s Softly as in a Morning Sunrise), listeners will immediately hear a deeply integrated group that delivers its musical art with great style and passion.
Tatum Greenblatt’s beautiful, crystal-clear trumpet voice lends a bluesy edge throughout, showcasing his rich jazz roots set on a contemporary platform and vision. Tatum takes full advantage of his voicing on the band’s hypnotic rendition of Boplicity, creating a smooth, rich mood any New York jazz lounge would be proud of at 3 AM. Tenor sax man and arranger Jon Blanck brings his soulful, driving, yet ever-sensitive approach on every tune, linking with Tatum’s trumpet to generate a warm blend of dynamic jazz.
Jon turns it up on the VJE’s intriguing and funky jazz samba rendering of Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, featuring a broad and beautiful solo.
The group’s rhythm section is also aptly featured, playing with a synchronization that gives the Verve Jazz Ensemble a solid yet highly flexible foundation. Note bassist Chris DeAngelis’ solid undercurrent and footprint everywhere on the album. Pianist Matt Oestreicher’s array of well-crafted, spicy and eclectic fills, accompaniments, and solos bring to mind pianists from McCoy Tyner to Red Garland, and many in between. And driving the band is VJE drummer and leader Josh Feldstein. Josh’s swinging, thoughtful, and elegant percussive pulse sets the stage for a distinctly different, truly enjoyable rhythmic experience from tune to tune. Josh especially digs in on the uptempo and novel quintet interpretation of Big Swing Face, seamlessly blending the small jazz ensemble sound with a big band drumming approach, resulting in a wide-open, kickin’ tune.
As the listener will very likely agree, it’s indeed about time the Verve Jazz Ensemble has released their debut album, It’s About Time.