They aren’t controlled by strings or by a hand in a sock. In fact, the Puppeteers are the ones in control. The Puppeteers (Puppet’s Records, 2014) brings together four accomplished musicians who logged many hours on stage at the former Puppet’s Jazz club in Brooklyn.
The players are Arturo O’Farrill, piano; Bill Ware, vibraphone; Alex Blake, bass; and Jaime Affoumado, drums. Collectively, their associations include The Jazz Passengers, Steely Dan, The Manhattan Transfer, Sun Ra, Stan Getz, the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte, Jaco Pastorious and Wynton Marsalis.
Blake’s “On the Spot” has a main phrase that reminds one of the classic, “Giant Steps.” The similarities end there. Ware then goes on a jaunt worthy of Lionel Hampton, with some intense support from the other musicians. O’Farrill and Affoumado get their licks in, too.