This is a very different Randy Sandke CD. The trumpeter, best known for his exciting playing in Dixieland, swing and mainstream settings, here performs a wide variety of (mostly) originals that range from classical to unclassifiable pieces. Four numbers (two with a jazz quintet, one with electronics, and an unaccompanied trumpet solo on "Prelude to a Kiss") are from 1988. The remainder was recorded with the Bulgarian National Symphony in 1997. "Cloudy" is Sandke's adaptation of a previously unknown Bix Beiderbecke ballad; he also performs a moody three-song "Ellington-Strayhorn Bouquet," and "Fugue State I, II" finds him doubling on synthesizers while performing with a brass quintet. He also revives Charles Ives' "The Unanswered Question," and other pieces feature the symphony with occasional trumpet. There is enough improvising for this to be considered a jazz set, but there are also enough classical influences and surprises for this CD to be a bit of a revelation. Because Randy Sandke is an underrated composer and arranger, this release is well worth checking out.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow