Jack Jeffers

Explorations, Vol. 3: New York Dances

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Although Jack Jeffers is best-known for being a versatile and reliable bass trombonist, on this CD he shows that he is also a talented arranger-composer. Jeffers uses a 12-piece group filled with mostly lesser-known players (other than Bill Easley on tenor and clarinet) to perform music that is both tied to the prebop tradition and open to the inlfuence of the avant-garde. Frequently the basic compositions are not all that complex and one or two horns stick with the original theme while advanced harmonies and improvisations played by the other players are both jarring and frequently exciting. "Mood Indigo," "Corcovado" and "Caravan" are reinvented in colorful and eccentric fashion and even the originals (which include the five-part suite "New York Will Keep You Dancing") look both backwards and forwards simultaneously. One can understand why Hamiet Bluiett (acting as a talent scout) enthusiastically recommended this unusual group to Mapleshade.