Seth Weaver Big Band : Truth Review
By: Griff Stevens
Seth Weaver is a jazz trombonist and vocalist that is releasing his debut album, Truth. The New York City-based musician is joined by some of NYC’s most creative musicians on five of Weaver’s original compositions and three arrangements of standards. Weaver leads a seventeen-piece swing orchestra. They have performed in numerous venues around New York City, including The Iridium, Swing 46, Club Bonafide, the APAP Showcase, Shapeshifter Lab, American Beauty, St. Peter’s Church, Zinc Bar, Birdland, and many others. Described as “big band swing with a modern twist,” the group also has a monthly residency at The Speakeasy Sessions (The Gin Mill.). Truth is being released on the Outside in Music label.
Weaver’s original, “The Hudson,” opens the album. The intro has flowing woodwind lines with punctuation brass hits. The melody is taken by Weaver, and the trombone section as the trumpets and woodwinds add support and counterpoint. Weaver’s compositional form moves between a quasi-Latin feel, swing, and half-time sections, all are handled with beautiful transitions. Weaver’s orchestration is full and balanced between the sections, and he is creative with his orchestration colors. Weaver takes the first solo slot. His technique and personality ring clear through his big warm trombone sound. The shout chorus follows and shows Weaver’s excellent writing skills.
“Here’s That Rainy Day” finds Weaver showcasing his arranging and vocal skills. Weaver is in great form on this album, His voice is smooth, and he really gets into the feel of the song. The arrangement is wonderfully written and features strong melodies and catchy hooks. Weaver sings the medium-slow ballad with his soft lilting voice. Addison Frei performs a stirring piano solo. Weaver’s arranging sounds for the big band are fresh, mellow, and rich in the tradition, and there are many ensemble highlights. A colorful and joyous arrangement of this classic standard.
It’s immediately apparent that Weaver, though young, has an acumen that is balanced with his experience of performing live professionally since high school. His writing is mature and is filled with nuances that take this debut to a higher level of expertise. His vocal quality is commanding and filled with the breezy language of swing. His writing is most appreciated in the small details within the arrangements that add that special spark. There is a warmth and personality within his traditional big band swing style. Light, airy, and filled with top-shelf performances. Truth is precisely what the doctor ordered in this very trying time of social distancing.
Release Date: March 27, 2020
Label: Outside in