A new album from veteran jazz flautist Tom Reese’s quartet, The Reese Project, continues down the same road traveled in the group’s previous effort, 2008’s This Just In. Which is to say that Eastern Standard Time, now out on the In The Groove label, is another nice collection of traditional jazz standards interspersed with some inventive originals, and in many cases given a Latin sensibility.
Reese is a strong instrumentalist, with a style of flute play that includes vibrato and a blending or overlaying of notes, resulting in a sound that’s a little different. In addition to Reese himself, the group’s musical identity is provided by guitarist Bobby Brewer, who has a long, solid career as a sideman, along with electric cellist Laurie Haines Reese and drummer Aaron Walker. On this album, guest percussionist Johnny ‘Bravo’ Acevedo also weighs in with some nice work.
Some of the best tracks here are those featuring some familiar songs, including the opener, “Just Friends” (clip). It serves as a good introduction to the group’s style, with Reese’s flute taking center stage. I also enjoyed “When Sunny Gets Blue,” which features some solid guitar licks from Brewer; as well as Bonfa’s Latin standard, “Black Orpheus.” My favorite was another familiar Brazilian piece, Jobim’s “Meditation” (clip), which again showcases the leader’s flute complemented by Acevedo’s strong percussion.
Among the originals, I thought Brewer’s “Moment In Blue” (clip) showed a different side to the group’s music, with its sweet and melancholy mood anchored by the ‘other’ Reese’s cello. I also thought the album’s closing track, flautist Reese’s own “Altoid Junkie,” provided a nice finish to the entire collection by giving both Reeses some quality time with each other — and letting us listen in.