The Reptet - Do This (Monktail Records, 2006)
It's appropriate that the Seattle jazz outfit The Reptet would dedicate four of their compositions on this album to The Marx Brothers, because they add a good dose of madcap fun and humor to their music. This doesn't mean that they do not take their music seriously, quite the contrary, this band made up of Tobi Stone and Izaak Millson on reeds, Ben O'Shea on trombone, Samantha Boshnack on trumpet and flugelhorn, Ben Verdier on bass, John Ewing on drums was formed for the express purpose of performing original improvisational compositions in an increasingly homogenized jazz world. The bands music is bold and exuberant, exploring some of the freer and avant-garde realms but without with honk 'n' squeal that could scare some of the more timid jazz listeners away. "Bad Reed Blues" and the live "Ro" show the band at their feverish peak with good soloing, and on the slower, more introspective songs like "Mumia's Lament" and "Groucho" the band's ensemble playing creates tone colors worthy of a big band. This is an interesting band that deserves attention beyond the fertile Seattle scene. They remind me a bit of another regional favorite, the Boston based ensemble Dead Cat Bounce, another collective that encourages original composition and exploratory improvisation. It's good to see outfits like this evolve independently from the hothouse scene of New York and hopefully they will continue to produce interesting original music.
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Unnatural Ways - We Aliens (Tzadik, 2016) ****
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