Reuben Fowler ‘Between Shadows’ (Edition) 3/5

That larger big band ensembles such as the one headed by leader and trumpeter Reuben Fowler is a triumph in itself , but there is a good deal to commend in this gifted young musician. Helping Fowler along is the presence of veteran saxophonist Stan Sulzmann and Jim Hart on vibes with fellow trumpeter Guy Barker conducting, while it was something of a coup to have the guest appearance of trumpeter Tom Harrell on one number. There are shades of Gil Evans from his collaborative period with Miles Davis in the orchestrations. The ambitious five-part suite of the title track features some extended soloing from Sulzmann on soprano which makes for a fascinating counterpoint with the restrictive piano vamps. Part two of the suite is in fact a reworking of the standard ‘A Nightingale sang in Berkely Square’ which is a sedate, almost pedestrian take on the evergreen number before taking off over five minutes in into a mid-tempo piece with some lovely trombone and vibes soloing. For some fine ensemble work, the lyrical ‘The lost and found’ fits the bill admirably. A case of excellent work in progress and following a relatively small number of British jazz musicians who have taken on extended composing and arranging duties. Tim Stenhouse

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