Volatile Can He Fly? — Air Force Jazz Ensemble

(Air Force)

ON this flight, jettison ballast about military bands with ceremonial duties. Commendably, the Air Force Jazz Ensemble’s six members have been recruited for dedication to jazz. No boot camp has dulled their individuality.

Leading Aircraftman Paul Williamson (trumpet) uses a French interpretation of “volatile” for the title track, exploring the question asked of an improvising musician: “Can he fly?” Original compositions by band members prove these air force lads can soar.

Talented ensemble members and three guests fly with an impressive instrument panel, including Ralph Whiteoak on saxophones, Greg Gear on piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer and accordion, and Jeff Vague on tenor sax and clarinet.

Flight highlights are Vague’s moody Trust, Whiteoak’s engrossing “chimp” tracks and Williamson’s reflective There’s a Time and a Place.

In short: Breath of fresh air force from uniformly creative musicians.

ROGER MITCHELL

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