Scott Reeves | Shape Shifter - Live at Cecils

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Shape Shifter - Live at Cecils

by Scott Reeves

A live blowing session by New York jazz veterans Scott Reeves on alto flugelhorn and tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, featuring Reeves' innovative originals that mix hard bop and free jazz with influences of 20th century classical music.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Shape Shifter
11:14 $0.99
2. The Alchemist
5:47 $0.99
3. Without A Trace
9:11 $0.99
4. The Soulful Mr. Williams
8:39 $0.99
5. Pedacinho do Brasil
5:46 $0.99
6. New Bamboo
11:35 $0.99
7. 3 'n 2
7:39 $0.99
8. Incandescence
7:45 $0.99
9. Last Call
7:35 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Reviews of “Shape Shifter

reached #42 on U.S. jazz radio playlists
voted one of top 10 releases by All About Jazz

Jazz Times – Thomas Conrad

This album is full of surprises. Start with the leader: Scott Reeves writes
fresher, more meticulous, more challenging tunes than many well-known jazz composers. He also plays two sonically seductive instruments you’ve never heard of, the alto flugelhorn…and the alto valve trombone. The only well-known musician…is Rich Perry. Perry exceeds expectations on Shape Shifter, offering revelatory tangents and unsolved mysteries. It is also surprising that this is a live album…you might think that Reeves nuanced, extended ensemble concepts would work better in a concert hall.
Not many club recordings feels so much like a single landscape of evolving mood and feeling…fitting into this album’s unfolding, its play of light and shadows.

All Music - Ken Dryden

Scott Reeves is best known as a trombonist, but for these 2008 live performances, he switched to the somewhat obscure alto flügelhorn and alto valve trombone. Assembling a quintet of both seasoned and younger musicians, including veteran tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, pianist Jim Ridl, plus bassist Mike McGurk and drummer Andy Watson, Reeves' post-bop originals are challenging and ear-catching. "Shape Shifter" is one of the most demanding of the bunch, constructed upon a 12-tone row and constantly changing time signatures, featuring Perry, Ridl, and the leader on alto valve trombone. The brooding "The Soulful Mr. Williams" conveys the sense of loss that nearly everyone who encountered pianist/ composer/ jazz educator James Williams felt after his unexpected death from cancer in 2004; Perry, Reeves (on alto valve trombone), and Ridl excel in their solos. On the remaining tracks, the leader sticks to alto flügelhorn, which is pitched a fifth lower than the regular horn. The tense, eerie "New Bamboo" and the loping, infectious blues "Last Call" especially stand out. Recommended.

Cadence Magazine
Overall there is a mature sound to this band highlighted by Rich Perry’s
dark, voluptuous tenor and Reeves’ soothing brass. The two of them sound
particular good together on the ballad “Without a Trace,” and the entire band shines in navigating tricky Latin and funk rhythms on “The Alchemist” and “Pedacinho do Brasil.” Perry’s playing takes on an acrid, probing character on “New Bamboo” and “The Soulful Mr. Williams” is a tribute to pianist James Williams that gives Ridl a chance to strut the blues after Reeves and Perry take intense solos. This is heavy, hard swinging live music from a band with purpose and style.

All About Jazz - David A. Orthmann

Scott Reeves's Shape Shifter (Miles High Records) is one of the year's pleasant surprises. Recorded live at Cecil's Jazz Club in March of 2008, the disc succeeds on a number of levels. Reeves's compositions are varied and substantial, ranging from hard bop and Latin oriented themes, to clever jazz-funk, to a French impressionist influenced piece, to a low key blues. His arrangements are restless, full of color, and provide ample solo space for all hands amidst variable underpinnings. In addition to the leader's alto flugelhorn and alto valve trombone, the record features tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, pianist Jim Ridl, bassist Mike McGuirk, and drummer Andy Watson. They are all keen interpreters of Reeves's music as well as eloquent soloists. One of the many pleasures of Shape Shifter is the band's ability to move seamlessly between funk and straight-ahead jazz.

Lucid Culture - CD review

One of the most strikingly beautiful melodic jazz albums of recent years. What proved most interesting to discover was how thoroughly composed the songs are – and they are songs in the purest sense of the word, no words necessary. As a composer, Reeves writes to the strength of his players, tenor saxist Rich Perry’s thoughtful bluesiness, pianist Jim Ridl’s laserlike sense of darkness, bassist Mike McGuirk’s tirelessly prowling propulsion and drummer Andy Watson’s uncanny, understated feel for shade and surprise. ..seeing the band live speaks volumes. Reeves is not exactly unknown, but underappreciated: jazz fans should discover him. And even if jazz is not your first love, you’ll undoubtedly find his melodies percolating in your brain long after taking in a show.

International Trombone Association Journal – Dan Barrett

Those looking for a fresh sound from a trombone in a jazz combo should check out SHAPE SHIFTER. Reeves’s compositions are featured exclusively on this disc, and are influenced and inspired by such diverse forces as French Impressionism, twelve-tone theory, Spanish and Brazilian music, Miles Davis and Dave Liebman. Several of the tunes have unique forms that tell elaborate stories. The improvisational work and ensemble playing are first-rate. The band moves effortlessly between swing and Latin styles with subtle modal and ethnic variations on each.

New Jersey Star Ledger – interview with Zan Stewart

Scott Reeves' new, beguiling CD -- "Shape Shifter" (Miles High Records) -- travels many musical roads. The songs are all his, and range from "the hard bop/post bop tradition, to aspects of the avant garde and a bit of funk in the mix," he says. Despite the music's stretch, it is decidedly enticing. His music mirrors his aesthetic philosophy, which is also deep and reflective. "I'm drawn to the process of exploration," says Reeves, who's played with such notables as Dave Liebman and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and as a leader. "The more you learn about music, the more you learn about yourself and life in general. Music stimulates the brain through the possibilities of harmony and form and stimulates the body through the power of rhythm." "I seem to be obsessed with trying to write down the sounds I hear in my head," he says. "I like the process of letting your imagination run free, then using your intellect and judgment to shape those ideas into an organic whole." Of his colleagues, Reeves says, "Rich is one of the most organic improvisers I know. Jim is a sensitive, responsive accompanist and an exciting soloist. Mike plays very interesting solos. Andy is a consummate drummer." When he is not performing, Reeves teaches at City College of New York, handling ensembles, jazz history and more. Playing jazz is a boon, he says. "It makes me feel alive. It stimulates my mind and imagination. It keeps me young and growing. It is both an intellectual path and a spiritual path."

Irish TImes - Ray Cominsky

Immensely experienced at the music’s top table, Scott Reeves is a skilled brassman (alto flugelhorn and alto valve trombone) and a composer whose pieces stretch the capable players in his quintet at these live 2008 dates. Apart from the leader’s quality originals, the jewel in a band driven by a high octane Jim Ridl -Mike McGuirk- Andy Wilson rhythm section, is tenor saxophonist Rich Perry. Best known for his great work with Maria Schneider, Perry is a wonderfully devious improviser, creative and utterly personal, whose instinctive approach contrasts with Reeves’s more considered manner. He stamps his personality on the material, whether it’s a 12-tone row piece such as Shape Shifter, or the demanding New Bamboo, based on some of Dave Liebman’s theories. These are perhaps the two finest performances on a blowing album much more substantial than usual for the genre.

Midwest Record - Chris Spector

We won’t hold it against him that he’s a Chicago cat that ditched us for the opportunities of the Big Apple, this bone man has a smart sense of jazz and the surety of a good leader. Simply a well done kind of late that you want to play after hours, his playing and writing seems to have a real understanding of how the end of a long day feels when you want to hunker down as opposed to mellow out. Late night jazz for the no smoking indoor era, it’s the kind of set that will hook you with one listen. Solid throughout

Jazz Weekly.Com By George W. Harris
Scott Reeves, along with Rich Perry/ts, Jim Ridi/p, Mike McGuirk/b and Andy Watson/dr, is caught in a swinging mood at Cecil’s Jazz Club in New Jersey last March. Reeves, who composed all of the tunes along with contributing alto flugelhorn and valve trombone, leads the band through some catchy advanced hard bop. Together with Perry, who made his name with the Jones/Lewis Orchestra, and has a rich bark to his bite on tenor, they create a rich front line on tunes like “Shape Shifter” and “New Bamboo.” The rhythm section is synchronized like a Swiss watch, as they can go from blues to bop to Brazil with the flick of a wrist. Fans of mid to late 60s Blue Note discs will have a friend here.

Improv Jazz Nation - Dick Metcalf

Though it may not fit the title of the CD, there's one word that comes immediately to mind for this live performance from Scott & his compatriots - delicious! The album was recorded live at Cecil's Jazz Club, & caters to my own tastes for truly improvised jazz with a full menu of all original pieces... but these guys play it as though it were "standard", & even the most hardcore traditionalist will be able to say they "grok" what's being played here. 9 superb pieces of music that you won't soon "put down", or relegate to "old playlists". As many who read this magazine know, our primary criteria for music being reviewed is the energy the artists convey for the playing, and "SHAPESHIFTER" comes in at the very top of that criterion... I give it a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED & tell you that I predict you will hear MUCH more from Reeves & crew(s) over the next couple of years.

Jazz Improv Magazine - Dan Bilawsky

Scott Reeves is probably the only person in jazz (or anywhere for that matter) that doubles on alto flugelhorn and alto valve trombone... Reeves is a monster musician on both instruments and he demonstrates this time and again on his new album, Shape Shifter.

"Just Jazz" Radio - Bob Bernotas

In this refreshing program of original works, trombonist Scott Reeves puts aside that familiar horn and spotlights his more unusual instruments - the alto valve trombone and alto flugelhorn. A gifted composer, Reeves' wide-ranging influences include French impressionists, twentieth-century Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera, and the eclectic Brazilian multi-instrumentalist, Hermeto Pascoal.

News & Observer (which circulates in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) - Owen Cordle

"Don't play what's there, play what's not there," Miles Davis once said. "Shape Shifter" (Miles High Records), recorded live at Cecil's Jazz Club in West Orange, N.J., is an example, from leader Scott Reeves' compositions to the improvisations to the accompaniment. The music is not your typical jazz quintet fare. Yes, there are grooves, such as the bluesy "The Alchemist" and "Last Call." But the solos proceed obliquely -- not where you'd expect. The title cut, built on a 12-tone row, sends Perry snaking among the chord changes; "The Soulful Mr. Williams," dedicated to the late pianist James Williams, has a march-like beat reminiscent of drummer Art Blakey, with Ridl featured advantageously. Reeves and Perry make the most of their lovely tonal blend and entwined lines on "Without a Trace" and "Incandescence," mood-setting pieces full of lyricism.

Icon Magazine
Keresman on Disc, June ***** (top rating)

I don’t know this Scott Reeves fellow from a hole in the ground - in fact, the only guy on here that rings any bells is tenor saxophonist Rich Perry. Musical genealogy isn’t import this very moment - what does matter is this platter by flugelhornist/valve trombonist/composer Reeves is SUCH a gosh-darn fine mainstream/modern bop live session. While classical influences can be discerned - at time Shape recalls the mid-’60s glory days of Blue Note (ie. Freddie Hubbard, Art Blakey, Jackie McLean) - this fivesome isn’t interested in turning back the clock. While this is melodious (well-thought/well-structured originals, not just frameworks for blowing) & swinging mod-bop, free influences seep in every now n’ then, Perry has a lusciously bluesy tone, and the unison playing of Reeves and Perry has a gloriously, bittersweet ache to it. Pianist Jim Ridl is lyrical and economical. Drummer Andy Watson is both solid and lively, got that beat and makes with some groovy fills n’ punctuations. Gloriously & crisply recorded at Cecil’s in scenic West Orange, NJ, Shape Shifter is a nigh-on flawless jazz disc. (And that’s the first time I think I’ve ever used the work “flawless.” Really)

Jazz Scene (Jazz Society of Oregon), April
George Fendel

Hands down, New York City continues to be the Mecca of jazz musicians. Here is one of perhaps dozens of stellar groups playing the real deal in Gotham. As noted above, Reeves has done some surgery on the standard flugelhorn and valve trombone, giving each horn a new dimension without affecting character. The only musician in Reeves’ quintet with whom I’m familiar is tenor saxophonist Rich Perry, a stunning player deserving of much greater recognition. I must say that I was also impressed with the driving hard bop of pianist Jim Ridl. Rounding out the quintet are bassist Mike McGuirk, and the drummer on the date, Andy Watson. All nine tunes in the set are Reeves compositions. One of the features, “The Soulful Mr. Williams,” is a tribute to pianist and gentleman, James Williams, who was lost to the jazz world much too soon. Reeves’ compositions are intricate and sometimes deep, but this is a tight knit group with strong solo work and a well-honed ensemble sound.



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