by Constance Tucker
Seth Weaver is known for his trombone abilities, described as a “youthful trombone firebrand pelting NYC with deliciously soulful hard bop,” but it is his delicious voice this artist initially from Franklin, TN, that lights up the eastern skies. Weaver was already playing and singing professionally in Nashville while still in high school. A recipient of a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies from the University of North Texas in 2013 and a master’s degree in Jazz Studies at the Manhattan School of Music in 2015 has quickly set this young artist on a path of one to watch.
His debut Big Band album Truth ignites a seventeen-piece swing orchestra highlighting Weaver’s originals with well-chosen standards like “Here’s That Rainy Day,” “On a Clear Day,” and “It Could Happen To You.” Each has the sparkle of big band magic, especially on tunes like his original “What If” Weaver has a focused and robust voice flirtatious and effervescent. Lukas Gabric on tenor sax lends a standout solo, while Oskar Stenmark on trumpet lends a dreamy tone that floats atop the melody. The band is swinging, and the counterpoint is what you hope for in a great big band album: all the trimmings, all the panache, and top-shelf playing.
There are plenty of historical quotes within each tune that harkens back to the glory days, its clear Weaver has studied big band, and his arrangements and originals benefit from his studied writing style. The brackish of any vocalist is how they approach a ballad, and Weaver is up to the task. Van Heusen and Burke’s tune “Here’s That Rainy Day,” is given a dark and moody feel. Weaver’s voice has a fragility in his voice that lends to the subtle tenderness of the melody. Addison Frei is featured on piano and offers a lilting opulence that propels the ballad to a deepened emotive.
The album is a mix of instrumental and vocal cuts, each is not to be missed, but certainly, a must are the vocal cuts. Weaver is not a replicate Sinatra singer like many male jazz vocalists; they get caught in Sinatra’s hinge. Weaver’s voice is supple and commanding, but his assuredness and delivery style is uniquely his own. Truth offers all the delights of Big Band jazz with a delectable appetizer of vocal charms.