The Music of Reed Kotler

Torii Records

All My Love's For You; Sweet Suzannah; I Will Always Love You: Did I Ask You if You Knew?; Someday, I Will Find Her; In a Restful Place; On a Warm Summer Night; When I Look at You; Love's Such a Funny Thing; It's Been a While; Joyful Times; Waltz for Gary. Total time: 64 minutes

Bob Sheppard - tenor and soprano sax and flute; Larry Koonse - guitar; Bill Cunliffe - piano; Darek Oles - bass; Mark Ferber - drums.

This Los Angeles-based quintet presents a fine album of 12 instrumental compositions by Reed Kotler. Essentially a "straight-ahead modern Jazz" date, the musicians are all accomplished and fluent on their instruments, with nice soloing by everyone when given the opportunity. But the overriding feeling is one of compatibility, simpatico, and friendship among the group - the emphasis is on ensemble playing and enjoyable small group Jazz.

The tunes are all interesting, and fall into a few moods: "All My Love's for You" and the deceptively titled "In a Restful Place" are joyful swingers. "Love's Such a Funny Thing" is also up-tempo, with a wider palate of colors and just a bit of an edge, while "lt's Been a While" and "Joyful Times" swing but with a slightly more relaxed pace. There are also a couple of pretty ballads, a nice samba, a Jobim-like romantic bossa, and a few tunes where guitarist Koonse and company clearly show the influence of Wes Montgomery and his small groups of the 1960s. Sheppard is a pro on all 3 of his instruments, and I especially liked his tone on the soprano sax.

by Howard Feldstein