July 5, 2024

Speechless marks a continued journey for composer Jackson Garrett, featuring his well-crafted compositions with the horn section arranged by Marty Steele.

Speechless contains 12 original works ranging in style from Motown-infused jazz to traditional ensemble swing, Blues and Latin tinged pieces all performed by Steve Madaio (trumpet), Kenny Meier trombone), Pat Rizzo (sax), Steve Neilen (drums), John Pagels (guitar), Marty Steele (piano), and Jeff Stover (bass).

“Just One More Time” begins the journey introducing a light-hearted contemporary feel, featuring saxophonist Pat Rizzo who has a big tone reminiscent of Sam Butera. Pianist Marty Steele aptly weaves 16th note lines through the harmony and horn backgrounds, the interaction between the horn section and piano lifts to a nice crescendo with jabbing lines before ending the piece with a long note voicing.

“Kisses All Around” begins with a piano cadenza coupled with a driving bass line that parlays into a bossanova; each texture change creates interest in the piece. Trumpeter Steve Madaio is featured on this track and his tone is inviting and welcomes the listener to delve deeper into this Latin expedition.

“Downtown with You” starts off with a bluesy gospel intro followed by tight horn punches and again Madaio showing his stuff by strutting his greasy side on trumpet. This track features interesting melodies and backgrounds. Drummer Steve Neilen lays down a solid rhythmic pad to give this track the slinky sexuality the blues genre is best known for.

Speechless ends with a traditional swing featuring Big Band shout lines and guitarist John Pagels providing chunk chords ala Freddy Green. The track is a swingin’ and foot tappin’ jazz cut perfect for any traditional aficionado who likes it with a bit of edge. During Pagels’ solo, he turns up his Santana dial and heats up the swing all while the ensemble keeps it swingin’.

Speechless offers a diversity of styles in jazz with the main ingredients being a danceable beat and great writing. Composer Jackson Garrett has put together a pleasing collection that will complement any jazz collection.

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