The CCM Faculty Jazztet features some of the most talented jazz educators from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. The group consists of Rick Van Matre (a triple threat on alto, soprano, and tenor saxophone), trumpeter Brad Goode, trombonist Marc Fields, guitarist James E. Smith, pianist Phil DeGreg, bassist Chris Berg, and either John Von Ohlen or Marc Wolfley on drums. Each of the first six musicians contributed originals to the session, while the band is tight throughout the date. Fields wrote the jaunty, strutting "All the Right Angles," the brisk "Every Father's Child" (which has a memorable hook), along with the haunting ballad feature "If You Were in My Shoes." Smith's "Second Sight" is smoldering hard bop at its best, with fine solos by its composer and Fields. DeGreg contributed the swirling, richly voiced "Julia's Swing." Goode's "No Idea" is the most adventurous chart of the session, while Berg's very subtle "El Gato Negro" and Van Matre's driving closer, "Ray's Return," also showcase the wealth of talent on the faculty. Mary Ellen Tanner, who is a very effective singer, is added for the two standards of the date, "Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most" and "The Gentleman Is a Dope." With tight solos and ensembles, plus their well-crafted charts, this is a highly recommended CD by a collection of educators individually and collectively deserving of wider recognition.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden