Really fine big band orchestra performs composed material by creative straight man Ken Schaphorst. The Lawrence University jazz studies director has gathered a killer lineup of musicians and found ways to showcase nearly all of them. Clarinetist Doug Yates solos through "With You, Then Without," leading the small orchestra with a clear, tightly corded tone. John Medeski's soloing is ear-grabbing on "Subterranean" and features strong support from a tightly swelling horn section, including an impressive showcase of the bass trombone by Dave Taylor. The title track makes room for an Uri Caine piano solo that is breathtaking as it ebbs and rushes into beauty and balladry. The very clean mixing and production could wipe the life out of most recordings, but the musicianship on Purple keeps the material well out of the purely film-score realm.
AllMusic Review by Joslyn Layne