Scott Whitfield

Hiding in Plain Sight

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In his third album for the jazz side of the peripatetic label, Amosaya, trombonist Scott Whitfield continues to rely principally on his compositions to deliver his creative message. He is joined by a stellar cast of jazz musicians, all new to the studio with Whitfield, except the ageless one, Frank Wess, who performs quite regularly with the trombonist on gigs at such jazz venues as New York's Birdland. Whitfield is sufficiently wise to give his compatriots plenty of room to work out their ideas on many of the cuts. On "Table Eleven," Dave Glasser's cutting alto and John Eckert's facile trumpet gets plenty of play time, punctuated by Kenny Washington's solid, certain drum breaks. The album is by no means limited to high-energy dazzlers. There are a couple of very pretty Whitfield ballads. On "If You Can't Call, Don't Come," Whitfield brings home just how smoothly melodic a trombone can be in his hands. On this cut he retains his inventive improvising without sacrificing that effortless playing. "Inner Peace" is a platform for a dreamy Frank Wess flute. This track belongs to Wess and the support of Jim McNeely as Whitfield fades in and out with some unabashedly romantic playing. A commodious track, indeed. Whitfield gets his gold star here for his compositional skills more so than for his trombone. His compositions also earn high marks for their susceptibility to good ensemble work, especially on the swinging "Analogy." This exceptional album does nothing to lessen Whitfield's place as a flawless trombone technician and composer of real music. It also solidifies his position as a player who doesn't have to rely entirely on technique showing he can produce a settled, serene sound to the slide instrument when called upon to do so. Recommended.

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