With his latest album, Night Talk, the brilliant arranger and bandleader Mark Masters delves deep into the Alec Wilder catalogue, crafting a vibrant, richly hued collection to spotlight one of modern jazz’s most gifted and singular voices: baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan. Backed by the virtuosic Mark Masters Ensemble, a stellar line-up featuring four horns and an impeccably swinging rhythm section, Smulyan explores Masters’ imaginative reinterpretations with the emotional eloquence of a great singer paired with the dazzling agility of a master soloist. Night Talk embraces the shadowy grandeur of Wilder’s compositions, from the evocative noir-influenced cover photograph to the dark-tinged luxuriance of Masters’ orchestrations. The pieces are given thrilling new life by the remarkable ensemble, which includes saxophonists Don Shelton and Jerry Pinter, trumpeter Bob Summers, trombonist Dave Woodley, pianist Ed Czach, bassist Putter Smith and drummer Kendall Kay. The cream of the West Coast scene, these musicians have forged long-standing musical relationships with one another and with Masters, in some cases dating back as much as three decades.