Trumpeter David Weiss continues his award-winning ways and stretches the boundaries of his trumpeting skills with The Mirror, a seven-track follow-up to his highly acclaimed debut, Breathing Room. This is an excellent set that was inspired by the works of Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. Weiss' pieces relate to images and emotional textures, while his versatile storytelling contains a combination of dynamics, colors, and moods. As the leader of the New Jazz Composers Octet, Weiss has built a solid reputation for his ability to evoke memorable performances from his solid sextet of Xavier Davis, Marcus Strickland, Myron Walden, Dwayne Burno, and E.J. Strickland. The set opens with the energetic "Stalker," a straight-ahead burner that features Weiss' excellent chops out front over a blazing drum line and steady piano beat. Strickland takes over with a multifaceted tenor saxophone solo that documents his exceptional skills. Strickland has definitely evolved, and his explosion of musical colors is a solid and worthy improvisation. "The Mirror" is nearly 11 minutes long and reflects many of the dynamics inherent in Weiss' amazing writing and instrumental influences. His strong melodic sense is both evolved and complex but highly entertaining. Davis offers a great piano solo that extends into free jazz territory; however, the melodic structure never strays too far to be disruptive or atonal. "Mr. Jin," written by Wayne Shorter, features Weiss collaborating with the inimitable Nasheet Waits on drums, Craig Handy on tenor sax, Steve Davis on trombone, and Norbert Stachel on bari sax and bass clarinet. This is a great blowing vehicle; together, the musicians take the song to another level that will blow you away with its timeless brass and wind resonance and themes.
AllMusic Review by Paula Edelstein