Randy Sandke's Outside In is a sequel to 2000's Inside Out. Once again the trumpeter brings together perceived avant-garde (saxophonist and clarinetist Marty Ehrlich, trombonist Ray Anderson, and pianist Uri Caine) and derrière-garde (Ehrlich's opposite number Ken Peplowski, utility man Scott Robinson, and Sandke himself), with trombonist (and former Marsalis regular) Wycliffe Gordon and drummer (and Mel Lewis protégé) Dennis Mackrel representing the mainstream, and bassist Greg Cohen qualifying as non-partisan. There's an increased emphasis on composition this time around, beginning with Sandke's robust arrangement of an unrecorded Jelly Roll Morton piece from 1941 recently unearthed by Morton biographers. "Ganjam," named for a place in India and crawling with "exotic" rhythms and voicings, is multi-thematic, like practically all Morton. Sandke, whose discography also includes "lost" Armstrong and Beiderbecke, gives Morton a modernist makeover, streamlining one of his themes (or "strains," as Morton would say) into an ostinato. The end result is more Ellington than Morton; with its plungered brass and keening clarinets, it could be a missing number from The Far East Suite—a comparison I don't make lightly. Faithful to Morton or not, Sandke's arrangement... More >>>