Bassist Ben Wolfe keeps a low profile on The Whisperer and his subtle presence clues you in to the album’s title. It’s as if he’s inviting you to listen to how good his band sounds. A refined musician, Wolfe stealthily defers to the vibrant soprano and tenor saxophonist Stacy Dillard to voice his compositions while rounding out his quartet with an essential Orrin Evans on piano and the surefire drummer Donald Edwards.
The quartet shines as a unit, deftly navigating the changes on sharply edged tunes — the excellent “Heroist” has a surging groove and features an arresting solo by Evans. Among several strong ballads, the best is the graceful “Hat In Hand,” a deliberate and lovely number with a fulsome melody and warm late-night glow. This excellent album makes for a rewarding listen. Fine writing, superlative improvisation, experienced leadership and Wolfe’s steadfast bass gives The Whisperer its juice. (12 tracks; 60 minutes)