Sinnett delivers a perfect performance in all roles
Drummer, composer, arranger, jazz radio host, teacher and band leader Jae Sinnett doesn’t need to change a thing on “Subject to Change,” his latest album. In addition to his crisp drum patterns, his arrangements are models of colorful writing for a seven-piece group, with tight harmony in the horns and use of both acoustic and electric keyboards and bass.
Sinnett, who lives in Chesapeake, Va., composed seven of the tunes and arranged all eight. (“Sunny” is the only non-Sinnett composition.) On “The Flea Flicker,” the zig-zagging opener, busy horns and undulating electric keyboard chords produce a ’70s-like jazz-rock blend, with Sinnett soloing agilely as the performance climaxes. The title tune features alto saxophonist Steve Wilson leading the horns in close harmony and then soloing passionately over the rhythm section, after which Justin Kauflin delivers a mesmerizing acoustic piano solo before the goose-bump-inducing ensemble theme returns. On the ping-ponging “What Goes Round” Terry Burrell solos on electric bass in a guitar-like manner reminiscent of the late Jaco Pastorius.
In addition to the aforementioned personnel, the band includes tenor saxophonist J.C. Kuhl (heard soloing on “Talkin’ with Beely”) and trumpeters Rob Dedominick (taking the lead throughout “Sunny”) and Bill Brown, with Duane Smith added on electric trumpet on “What Goes Round.” Wilson on soprano sax is heard again on “Chocolate Soles” and, back on alto, on the ballad closer “Affinity,” another thriller. Sinnett’s writing for this album is superb. His chord voicings, often tinged with dissonance, are the perfect atmospheric ingredient.
Correspondent Owen Cordle