Speechless showcases northern Ohio-based trumpeter Jack Schantz' luscious trumpet in a variety of settings. As such, Schantz mixes standards, bebop classics, an original waltz, and two fantasies on American tunes. These latter pieces, "America the Beautiful" and "Amazing Grace," prove the most memorable offerings. These variations maintain the character of the originals while extending them into new idioms. Regardless of the material, the leader demonstrates a smooth, golden tone that never falters, even on the quick "Lennie's Pennies." For the date Schantz has assembled some of the finest jazz players from northern Ohio, including drummer Val Kent and pianist Chip Stephens, with bop saxophonist Howie Smith making guest appearances on two numbers. As such, it serves as an introduction to some of the personalities on this vital regional scene. Notable among the sidemen is first-call bassist Jeff Halsey, who receives more than a bassist's usual share of the solo spotlight, and shines each time he steps forward. Throughout, he contributes melodic commentary as well as steady basslines to the ensemble.
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AllMusic Review by David Dupont