The musical range of this group is vast, as are the influences that inform its individual members, but as a unit they sound like no one else. Their long-term working relationship has paid off handsomely here; these tunes are all bravely voiced and beautifully articulated compositions of modern jazz. (The word "modern" should be translated to mean "in the 2000s era" rather than as an empty signifier that denotes type or subgenre in this context.) These selections have been molded by many different styles of music from the American vernacular: from folk and gospel to pop and soul standards, from country and blues to the spiritual jazz of Coltrane and Strata East, and even rock. But there is no mistaking what Seasons of Changes is. Something this ambitious yet earthy, so sophisticated, yet accessible to virtually any set of ears, could only be jazz.
The early-1960s group the Jazz Brothers featured trumpeter Chuck Mangione and pianist Gap Mangione in a quintet also including up-and-coming tenor Sal Nistico (shortly before he joined Woody Herman's Orchestra), bassist Steve Davis and drummer Roy McCurdy; lots of young talent in that band. Their second of three recordings (the first has yet to be reissued) has reappeared as this CD. Those only familiar with Chuck Mangione's later work will be surprised to hear him playing bop-oriented music and showing the strong influence of Dizzy Gillespie. Four standards (including "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes" and "Just You, Just Me") alternate with an obscurity and three group originals. The music has spirit, even if it is a bit derivative and predictable.