Considering that Brent Rose is known for playing all over New Orleans’ musical scene—brass band, jazz, Latin, rhythm and blues, big band—it’s not surprising that the saxophonist incorporates many flavors in his own CD, The Unexpected Gift.
On an album full of original material—with the exception of one cut written by his daughter, vocalist Ximone Rose—the tenor saxophonist and flautist often changes gear not only from cut to cut but within the tunes.
Latin rhythms have a prominent role, ranging from the groove of the playful opening cut “Get It Right!” and “Slow Your Roll” to the fast-paced, merengue-tinged “The Dilemma.” Rose dramatically introduces the song on flute with trumpeter Eric Lucero, whose horn often teams well with Rose’s tenor sax, taking a soaring solo followed by pianist Oscar Rossignoli’s flying fingers.
Backed by a solid percussion section that includes Alexey Marti, Rose often takes advantage of the freedom it gives him by reaching to jazz’s outer fringes on his solos. The saxophonist makes such a move on “Polvo” before he and his talented ensemble eventually wind up in a more fun-loving mood. Drummer Peter Varnado gets the last exalted word on this cut of many colors.
The album also includes solid work by guitarist Scott Myers and bassist Tommy Sciple.
The Unexpected Gift takes many unforeseen turns that reflect and showcase Rose’s broad musical outlook.