From a military-related encounter comes Echoes of Europe (Artists Recording Collective, 2017) by the Dino Massa Kansas City Quintet.

The quintet consists of Massa, piano; Christopher Burnett, alto saxophone and clarinet; Charles Gatshet, guitar; Andrew W. Stinson, bass; and Clarence Smith, drums. Additional musicians are Terri Anderson Burnett and Freda Proctor, flute; Marcus Hampton, flugelhorn; and Stanton Kessler, flugelhorn and trumpet.

“Alone” betrays its title with a powerful sense of togetherness, highlighted by the blended sounds of guitar, piano and flute that respond to the calls of the sax. After the call and response introduction comes a series of phrases in which all players hit the same notes. All of the core quintet, except Stinson, take turns in solo. Christopher Burnett starts the sequence, followed by Massa, Gatschet and Smith. During Massa’s turn, bass and drums are intense. They lighten up behind the guitar, but inject a hint of a Latin rhythm. The sax resumes its initial call, this time answered only by Smith. The piece reverts to the multi-instrument series, ending with a short riff from Massa.

“Imagine” is an easygoing selection that draws comparisons to Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.” In addition to the composer, the flutes join the quintet and provide a counter-melody to the flugelhorn’s lead. Smith mixes some rim shots, light parade rolls on the snare and tom rolls. The solos go in stages. A moderate stage, where Smith plays as he has for most of the some, and a high-speed stage where the lead instrument is more emphatic and the kit is on an accelerated run. Soloists are Hampton, Massa and Gatschet. The song reverts to the melody with the flutes answering the lead. Hampton ad libs on the fade.

Christopher Burnett, founder of the ARC label, was leading chief petty officer, staff arranger and unit leader of the NATO Big Band, the official band of the commander in chief of Allied Forces of Southern Europe. During that assignment, he met and performed with Massa at a jazz club in Massa’s home of Naples, Italy. That association led to Massa’s migration to the United States in 2015.

Hampton, incidentally, is nephew of trombone great Locksley Wellington Hampton, better known as Slide Hampton, and cousin of the legendary vibist, Lionel Hampton. He and Burnett were roommates in Germany in 1977, when both performed with the U.S. Army Band.

Massa composed five of the seven tracks on Echoes of Europe. Burnett wrote “Notos,” and Hampton offered “Imagine.”