Scott Reeves

Creative Jazz Improvisation

Without a Trace - Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra

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Without a Trace - Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra


"Without a Trace" is the second recording on Origin Records by the Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra. It features outstanding New York musicians such as saxophonists Steve Wilson and Tim Armacost, pianist Jim Ridl and vocalist Carolyn Leonhart. Scott's music carves out a new approach to big band writing by combining a contemporary harmonic palette and non-traditional forms with infectious, swinging grooves and great soloing by world-class jazz musicians.

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1. Speak Low  (6:54) comp. Kurt Weill & Ogden Nash (Chappell & Co. & Hampshire House Publishing Corp.), arr. Scott Reeves; solos - Steve Wilson, Chris Rogers,  Andy Watson   

2. Without a Trace (7:38) comp & arr. Scott Reeves (Reebone Music, BMI); solos – Carolyn Leonhart, Tim Armacost, Jim Ridl

3. All or Nothing at All (7:22) comp. Arthur Altman & Jack Lawrence (Range Road Music Inc.), arr. Scott Reeves; solos -  Scott Reeves, Vito Chiavuzzo  

4. Incandescence (6:53) comp & arr. Scott Reeves (Reebone Music, BMI); solos – Dave Ellson, Steve Wilson     

5. Ju Ju (8:06) comp. Wayne Shorter (Kobalt Music Pub. America, Obo Miyako Music), arr. Scott Reeves; solos – Rob Middleton, Tim Sessions, Andy Watson                                                 

6. Shapeshifter (8:32) comp. & arr. Scott Reeves (Reebone Music, BMI); solos – Scott Reeves, Jim Ridl   

7. Something for Thad (6:45) comp. & arr. Scott Reeves (Reebone Music, BMI); solos – Matt Haviland, Andy Gravish     
Scott Reeves – conductor, trombone (3), alto flugelhorn (6)
Saxophones – Steve Wilson (soprano, alto, flute), Vito Chiavuzzo (alto, flute), Rob Middleton (tenor, clarinet), Tim Armacost (tenor), Jay Brandford (bari, 5 – 7), Terry Goss (bari, 1 – 4)
Trumpets – Seneca Black (lead), Nathan Eklund, Chris Rogers (1 – 4), Bill Mobley (5 – 7), Andy Gravish
Trombones – Tim Sessions (lead), Matt McDonald, Matt Haviland, Max Siegel (bass trombone)
Piano - Jim Ridl, Vibes – Dave Ellson (4), Bass – Todd Coolman, Drums -  Andy Watson
Vocals – Carolyn Leonhart (2)

All music composed or arranged by Scott Reeves; cuts 2, 4, 6, 7 published by Reebone Music, BMI
Produced by Scott Reeves
Recorded by Paul Special at the Sonic Arts Center, City College of New York, NYC
Assistant engineers: Dawid Arciszewski, Michael Paliocha, Johnathan Wright, Avi Greenstein, Matthew DeSimonea,
Mixed by Brian Montgomery at Brian Montgomery Studio, Astoria, NY
Mastered by Michael MacDonald at AlgoRhythms Mastering, Sante Fe, NM
Photos bu Chris Dukker, Janet Reeves and Scott Reeves
Thanks to Janet Reeves, Mike Holober, Jim McNeely, Paul Special, Brian Montgomery, Michael MacDonald, John Bishop, Ann Braithwaite, Alan Shih & The City College of New York, and all the musicians who performed on this recording.


Kurt Weill’s “Speak Low” is a feature for alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, with some exhilarating moments by trumpeter Chris Rogers and drummer Andy Watson. Cast in an Afro-Cuban rhythm, the beginning of my arrangement contains a reference to Bill Evans’s version from his New Jazz Conceptions record. “Without a Trace” has a rangy, angular melody with unconventional harmonies, yet Carolyn Leonhart sings it so lyrically, bringing out its plaintive and foreboding nature. Tenor saxophone Tim Armacost and pianist Jim Ridl also make powerful statements over the complex form. In the Arthur Altman standard, “All or Nothing at All,” I tried to weave chromatic harmonies over a bass pedal with an Ahmad Jamal groove and a hint of Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” during the A section, leaving the bridge to swing over more conventional harmonies. I take a turn on slide trombone, followed by Vito Chiavuzzo on alto, and a shout chorus with more quotes than I care to admit. “Incandescence” was inspired by watching the evening stars appear over the medieval walls in the village of Moustiers in southern France. More of a French impressionistic piece than a jazz vehicle, it features Dave Ellson on vibes and Steve Wilson on soprano sax, and it contains an unresolved tension between major and minor.  Most jazz fans are familiar with Wayne Shorter’s 1965 recording of “Ju Ju,” but I was fortunate to get a leadsheet of Wayne’s recent arrangement of the tune from bassist John Patitucci. Tenor saxophonist Rob Middleton solos over the new version, while trombonist Tim Sessions blows over the original groove. The sax soli is based on Wayne’s first and third choruses from his solo on the original Blue Note recording, and Andy Watson builds into a powerful climax at the end. “Shape Shifter” is my first attempt to write a piece based on a 12-tone row, although the row is fairly tonal and was borrowed from Piano Sonata #1 by Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera. The form goes through many incarnations: a slow introduction which displays the tone row; a swinging 3/4 section (with a nod to Gil Evans’s “Time of the Barracudas”) during which I solo on an unusual instrument called an alto flugelhorn; a 4/4 section featuring trading between the rhythm section and the horns; a free section where everything breaks down; and a haunting coda that returns us to the opening row. The piece shifts continually in tempo and mood, so it seemed natural to reference the shapeshifting character from Star Trek’s Deep Space Nine.  “Something for Thad” is my tribute to the great Thad Jones who, along with Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Bob Brookmeyer, and Jim McNeely, is one of my main sources of inspiration as a composer. Trombonist Matt Haviland and trumpeter Andy Gravish are featured on my line based on “I Got Rhythm” changes, and the groove always makes for a good closer. – Scott Reeves