From a military-related encounter comes Echoes of
Europe (Artists Recording Collective, 2017) by the Dino Massa Kansas
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
“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.
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.
composed five of the seven tracks on Echoes of Europe. Burnett
wrote “Notos,” and Hampton offered “Imagine.”