I’ve always thought that jazz flute was one of this genre’s loveliest and most swinging instruments, and have been sorry we’re not hearing very much of it anymore. Well, here’s a musician who is doing everything he can to keep jazz flute in the forefront of listeners’ consciousness. In his second CD for Summit, Beckett has written special arrangements for an ensemble incorporating vibes, trombone, harmonica and acoustic guitar as well as electric guitar. His flute entourage includes alto and bass ranges as well as piccolo, and he swings like made on all of them.
The tunes are not the sort of things you would hear on a smooth jazz album, but solid challenging compositions of some depth. None are what you would call standards, or at least not well-known ones. Contributions come from such as Wayne Shorter, Jim Hall, Mal Waldron, Chet Baker, Stanley Turrentine and Freddie Hubbard. Everyone plays beautifully and the arrangements are brilliant. I especially liked the doubled flute and vibes on the Chet Baker tune Broken Wing, sort of reminded me of the Shearing Quintet. The sounds of multiple flutes distinguishes Coral Keys, the Freddie Hubbard number. Beckett overdubbed all four of his flutes for a wonderful sound on this track.
Tracks: The Soothsayer, Fami-Lee, Bimbe Blue, Broken Wing, Pamela’s Passion, Blue Gene, FluteVibes, Coral Keys, I Remember Bill, Two’s Blues.
– John Henry