MICHAEL Philip Mossman is a triple threat.
That means he's a great trumpet player, composer and arranger with a special affinity for Latin jazz.
Mossman had the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra cooking on high heat Sunday afternoon, in the first of two concerts that day, with his arrangements of some classic Latin jazz tunes and his own composition, Cubauza.
The WJO, augmented by percussionist Rodrigo Mu±oz and pianist Ron Paley making a rare appearance on electric bass, easily turned the Winnipeg Art Gallery auditorium into a Cuban dance hall.
Mu±oz and drummer Quincy Davis were key, laying down the infectious Afro-Cuban rhythms that form the basis of Latin jazz.
The concert included compositions by WJO director and trumpeter Richard Gillis (Ciro) and trombonist Jeff Presslaff (Retreat!), as well as pieces by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Carlos Santana.
Gillis's Ciro opened with a great solo spot by Mu±oz before the rest of the rhythm section and the big band joined in. The piece was a showcase for the band's ensemble play, for Mossman's trumpet solo, and the first sign Davis and Mu±oz would be essential to the concert repertoire. Paley, recognized as a top pianist and band leader in town, helped lay down that Latin beat in a rhythm section that included the bright young pianist Will Bonness.
Presslaff's Retreat! was a great piece, with tight ensemble play and good soloing by Presslaff and tenor saxophonist Paul Balcain. It was good Latin jazz and an example of Presslaff's delightfully off-centre style of composition.
No concert dedicated to Latin jazz could ignore the Gillespie trademark, A Night in Tunisia, and the WJO wisely closed its show with the well-known and well-loved tune. Mossman had some big shoes to fill in the trumpet solo spot, but his high notes hit the stratosphere, evoking the great Dizzy himself.
Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra
Winnipeg Art Gallery
4 stars out of 5