Following up his brilliant Voice Like a Horn, trombonist, vocalist and band leader Pete McGuinness is back, leading a full orchestra with Strength in Numbers (Summit Records, 2014).

McGuinness arranged all 10 tracks and composed six. The orchestra is comprised of a five-piece saxophone section with some players doubling on flute and others on clarinet, a four-piece trombone section, a four-piece trumpet section and three-piece rhythm section.

The horns, with emphasis on the woodwinds, flutter like birds flitting about the landscape during “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” It’s a tranquil, charming piece, accented by an easygoing pace and overlapping phrases by the different sections.

McGuinness eventually introduces his voice, asking the question presented in the title. His soothing vocal is encouraging. The lyrics ask a prospective lover what she plans to do and tells her that whatever her plans, he wants to be part of them. Andy Elau contributes a lovely bass solo.

“The Swagger” brings a bit more sass and brass. All the horns blend for the melody but then split with one group calling, another responding and a third jumping in whenever there’s a chance. Featured soloists are Dave Reikenberg on baritone sax, Jeff Nelson on bass trombone and Marc Phaneuf on alto sax. For his part, Nelson takes the instrument down to its depths, throwing in some grinding, rumbling phrases. Throughout the triple header, piano, bass and drums strike an ideal balance between maintaining the rhythm and expressing their own feelings for the music.

“Spellbound,” a McGuinness original, has a haunting mood. The base rhythm may conjure images of Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage.” However, the tune is completely different. Jason Rigby on tenor sax and Chris Rogers on muted trumpet are featured. During the latter’s solo, the orchestra builds to a dramatic crescendo, drops off then comes back in to segue into the main theme.

McGuinness is a 2008 Grammy finalist for his arrangement of Charlie Chapin’s “Smile,” and won first prize in the 2010 Jazzmobile Vocal Competition, judged by the later Dr. Billy Taylor and Barry Harris. A New York resident since 1987, McGuinness has appeared on more than 40 recordings. He studied at the prestigious BMI Jazz Composers Workshop and has performed with big bands of such leaders as Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Heath and Maria Schneider. He is active in music education in the United States and Europe, and is assistant professor of Jazz Arranging at William Paterson University.

Strength in Numbers is the second release by the Pete McGuinness Jazz Orchestra and the artist’s fourth as a leader.