Scott Whitfield

To Be There

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Young trombonist Whitfield has pieced together this CD from several different recording sessions. Some feature guests like Ira Sullivan, fellow trombonist Carl Fontana, and saxophonists Frank Wess, Nick Brignola, or Sam Rivers. There are two rhythm sections that back Whitfield, whose sound quite distinctly resembles the mushy, legato-smeared tones of Curtis Fuller. The leader also wrote seven of these ten selections, all in the solid modern mainstream tradition. The CD is bookended by tunes featuring pianist John Colianni, bassist Dwayne Burno, and drummer Terry Clark, and this trio truly shines behind Whitfield, especially the forceful Colianni. With Wess wielding his sweet tenor sax, "Your Dream or Mine?" evokes a sound similar to the standard "I Want to Be Happy." The title track is a boppish samba with a more singing horn sound minus Wess, and the quartet digs into Whitfield's ballad "I Could Never Forget You." A pronounced, outspoken Whitfield contrasts during the ballad "Lady in Pink," and the rousing closer, Cole Porter's "Love for Sale," has somewhat of a Baroque phrase from piano and trombone. Of the guest shots, Mark McKee (piano), Dave Spring (bass), and Randy Jennings (drums) take over, and are less effective but no less musical. Fontana and Whitfield work out together and apart on "Two of a Kind," Brignola's baritone sax wafts on a cool blues swing on "You're a Groove," and Rivers' quirky soprano merges with the brass on "Twinkletoes." Sullivan brings flute and muted trumpet for the waltz "Since the First Time I Saw You," while at his most patient and clearly enunciated, Whitfield waxes poetic on McKee's "Nova's Bossa" -- not a turnaround rhythm as you might expect, but it is straightforward and expresses the prettiest melody on the disc. Variety is the spice for this recording, where the leader is not as profound as his sidemen. As Whitfield grows and matures, we may hear more of his voice springing forth.

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