Lorelei Clarke - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection - jazzreview.com - Your Jazz Music Connection http://www.jazzreview.com Tue, 23 May 2017 07:52:03 -0500 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Prospice by Wings of Fire Orchestra http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/prospice-by-wings-of-fire-orchestra.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/progressive-cd-reviews/prospice-by-wings-of-fire-orchestra.html When the first notes of Prospice hit, you know these guys have something to say, and they’re gonna sing it loud and proud. The Wings of Fire Orchestra’s second release, …

When the first notes of Prospice hit, you know these guys have something to say, and they’re gonna sing it loud and proud. The Wings of Fire Orchestra’s second release, like their 2006 Bullfighter’s Ballet, launches off a central theme into the unexplored realms of rock and jazz as only a 30+-piece orchestra can. The first half of the album centers around the Robert Browning poem Prospice, a piece where the poet expresses his views on death. The second half is the four-part "Oh Busy Air", as well as some extra finale parts.

The massive size of this group just adds to its power. Between the vocals, chorus line and monster horn section, it’s hard to ignore. The orchestration lets each voice come through. Unlike a lot of rock orchestras, the vocals aren’t over bearing, and the horns play an important melodic, rather than harmonic, role. The bari sax and trombone lines especially show through on "Lying in the Fields Alone", "Delta Street" and the first part of "Oh Busy Air". They add the funky, jazzy feel that keeps the Wings of Fire Orchestra sounding unique.

Not to neglect the amazing vocals on this album, I have to say they remind me of every favorite band I grew up with. Think Queen meets Phish meets Motown. It’s the kind of sound that makes you feel like you are in a Broadway show. The choral sections bring a depth to the sound, but it’s Jeff Phlaumbaum’s over-arching, Freddie Mercury-esque voice that dominates the picture.

As with Bullfighter’s Ballet, there’s no real explanation for some parts of the album, such as the cover art. "Jockey Gun" gives us some hints, with the overdubbed horserace announcer and the Saturday-in-the-Park style keyboard. "Words of Change" combines gospel organ with clips from some contemporary and historical figure speeches. But in a lot of ways it’s hard to focus on the message being presented here because the music is so amazing. I feel that each listener should take this music for what it is and define it for themselves, rather than having someone tell them what it means.

This is the kind of music you can see being used to score a theatre production. But until someone wants to choreograph one (any takers?) you’ll just have to let your imagination run with this one. Every track is grooving, every line is tight, every note is hit just right and everyone in the room is likely dancing and singing along. If you haven’t experienced WoFO yet, now is the time.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Lorelei Clarke) Progressive - CD Reviews Mon, 16 Mar 2009 13:00:00 -0500
Laughters Necklace of Tears by Eric Revis http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/laughters-necklace-of-tears-by-eric-revis.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/laughters-necklace-of-tears-by-eric-revis.html When I heard the opening notes of Laughter’s Necklace of Tears, I was reminded at first of Stravinsky and the Rite of Spring. The mixture of bowed viola and pluck…

When I heard the opening notes of Laughter’s Necklace of Tears, I was reminded at first of Stravinsky and the Rite of Spring. The mixture of bowed viola and plucked bass in haunting overtones just sends chills up your spine. It’s hard to ignore something so entrancing. While not all of his music is quite this somber, Eric Revis’s compositions are full of interplay between the different sounds in almost orchestral complexity.

"Suicide 4 Life" is a good example of this simply because it has so many moving lines. A driving bass and drum line keeps the piece moving without making it feel rushed. The saxes play harmony a few steps off from each other so that there’s an almost continuous clashing of notes. The intensity of the rhythm combined with the dissonant sax line is offset by the odd, somewhat comical sound of the melodica. Revis does an admirable job of keeping all the elements of the group in check, however, so that each sound comes through distinctly.

While some of the pieces, such as "Denihilists" and "The Deaf Schizophrenic", are very harmonic and filled with dissonance, the two ballads on the album, "Faith In All I Fear" and "Feb 13th", are very tender and melodic, very similar to Mingus’s ballad style. There’s a quality of story telling to all of Revis’s compositions, but to me it seems to shine through the best in these two tracks.

"In Tha Hick of Time" was an unexpected treat since it was so different from the rest of the album. I guess if I’d been paying attention to the title the first time through it wouldn’t have been such a surprise, but other than making me chuckle it has some great bow work by Revis.

The blues tracks on the album are well done too, showing more horn-rhythm interplay without getting overly complicated. "O" has a distinct, almost funky groove to it that the sax lines sink into perfectly with the piano adding commentary. Revis chooses to end his album with the Thelonius Monk tune "Shuffle Boil", although he adds a little rock ‘n’ roll to this laid back shuffle to make it a little more edgy. Lots of great horn solos and guitar work make the piece an amazing closer.

Some albums I never feel the need to listen to a second time to understand the music. This one I think I could listen to fifty times and still hear something new each time. Not only is it good listening, heart-felt and well-played but Revis has an undeniable sense of humor that comes through loud and clear, giving you the impression he doesn’t take his music too seriously. From dark and brooding harmonized chords to thigh-slapping bluegrass, every tune on this album is worth hearing.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Lorelei Clarke) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Sat, 14 Feb 2009 18:00:00 -0600
Second Time: Improvisations Cycle by Claude Marc Bourget http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/second-time-improvisations-cycle-by-claude-marc-bourget.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/second-time-improvisations-cycle-by-claude-marc-bourget.html Second Time: Improvisations Cycle by Claude Marc Bourget
Pianist Claude Marc Bourget put his musical career on pause for a few years to become a published writer back in the 1980s. He returns to the music scene with this solo…

Pianist Claude Marc Bourget put his musical career on pause for a few years to become a published writer back in the 1980s. He returns to the music scene with this solo album that blends both jazz and classical motifs into an impressionist soundscape. The album was recorded in the Françoys-Bernier concert hall of Domain Forget in Charlevoix, Canada, which makes the album into more than just an interesting piece. None of the effects from the hall are lost on the listener. The intensity of the music and the quality of the recording pull you into the music, until you feel almost as if you are sitting alone in a concert hall.

Bourget’s playing is not especially lyrical at first listen, but about the second or third time around, you begin to make sense of the long phrases and the subtle themes that continue through each section of the album. What is remarkable is how energetic his playing is. There is rarely a lull in the intensity; even the silences hold the listener’s attention. His playing is dense with harmonies at times, while at others it is reduced to a simplistic melodic strain. It is, as the title implies, cyclic, constantly building up and breaking down in complexity and volume. He drives these cycles with changes in rhythm and harmony, gradually moving away from his original theme, only to return to it later on. The themes sound more classical for the most part, but there are moments when he uses blues motifs. It’s hard to guess where the music will go next and how it will change, but in some ways the freedom and unpredictability of the music shows just how much thought went into each note.

No matter whether you are solo piano aficionado or not, Bourget’s sound is enthralling. His technical and creative facilities alone are admirable, but the sheer intensity of his music is enough to draw the most callused listener in. When so much music follows set forms of conformity and repeating phrases, it’s easy to get lost in the long, full themes that seem to never end. I am not traditionally a fan of solo piano works, and I probably won’t go out and buy any right away, but this album will definitely have a spot in my listening library.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Lorelei Clarke) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Sat, 17 May 2008 13:00:00 -0500
The Song Is You: A Tribute to Lawrence G. Williams by Michele Ramo and Marcus Belgrave http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/the-song-is-you-a-tribute-to-lawrence-g.-williams-by-michele-ramo-and-marcus-belgrave.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/the-song-is-you-a-tribute-to-lawrence-g.-williams-by-michele-ramo-and-marcus-belgrave.html This recording was the dying wish of drummer, pianist, and composer Lawrence Williams, a close friend of Michele Ramo and Marcus Belgrave. With this higher purpose in mi…

This recording was the dying wish of drummer, pianist, and composer Lawrence Williams, a close friend of Michele Ramo and Marcus Belgrave. With this higher purpose in mind, the two friends set out to fulfill William’s request, and created this rewarding and passionate album with the rather rare duo of guitar and trumpet. The added emotion behind this album’s creation is evident from the first notes. Opening with Oscar Hammerstein’s "The Song Is You", Belgrave begins with a light solo and is joined by Ramo’s walking bass line. The breathy trumpet tones float seamlessly over the mellow plucking. The guitar Ramo plays on this recording is one of his own invention, an 8-stringed combination of guitar and bass called the "Hei-D Mostro". During Ramo’s solo, it’s hard to believe there is only one instrument playing, as the bass notes so often compliment his solo lines. He does a good job of switching up rhythms during Belgrave’s solo as well. Ramo contributes one of his own compositions to the album in "A Song For A True Artist". Beginning with a soft, Latin line, Ramo takes the background to Belgrave as he comes in with a haunting, lyrical melody.

The resolutions in the melody are almost heartbreaking, blending richly with the guitar undertones. Belgrave’s sparing use of vibrato adds to the effect beautifully. Ramo at times sounds as if he were playing a harp rather than a guitar, with several swift scalar lines. Belgrave imitates these lines in his own, creating an effect like a round as the two carry on in true duet fashion. The effect is one of longing, but not of sadness per say. The song is a true lament, a remembrance of something that was lost. This album would be incomplete, however, without a song by the one who inspired its creation. Lawrence William’s "Number 6" (which cleverly enough is track #7 on the album) is a perfect outlet for Ramo and Belgrave’s creativity. Beginning with another beautiful solo trumpet line, the guitar has freedom to compliment and ad-lib as willed. Ramo chooses to add some more harp-like, cascading lines behind the ethereal sound of Belgrave’s flugelhorn. While Belgrave sets the mood and tone of the piece, Ramo adds color and texture. Ramo takes an extended solo in this piece as well that includes some strictly bass work as well as some interesting rhythmic patterns. Belgrave’s solo livens things up a bit as he throws in some bebop licks over Ramo’s smooth Latin patterns. One of the best songs of the album, however, has to be "What A Wonderful World", where Belgrave's vocal solo is reminiscent of the same done by Louis Armgstrong. The ever-popular melody that we hear so often is given a new frame of reference when played with so passionately.

While this can be said for the whole album, this selection seems to embody it so very well. From the first note to the last, it’s obvious how much of themselves these two artists have put into this recording. They’ve done much more than realizing a friend’s last wish; they have honored him royally.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Lorelei Clarke) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Mon, 31 Dec 2007 18:00:00 -0600
Each Part A Whole by The Macro Quarktet http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/each-part-a-whole-by-the-macro-quarktet.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/free-jazz-avante-garde-cd-reviews/each-part-a-whole-by-the-macro-quarktet.html This, as far as I know, is the common formula for making music: you take several distinct sounds and intertwine and mix and blend them until you have one definitive over…

This, as far as I know, is the common formula for making music: you take several distinct sounds and intertwine and mix and blend them until you have one definitive overriding sound that contains all the component sounds, but is greater than each individually. Herb Robertson’s Each Part a Whole album throws that theory out the window. In his "quarktet", he tries to put the macro and micro sounds on the same level so that each is on an equal level. Each player’s voice stands alone, and yet the meshing and clashing of the four together is just as present.

The album starts out with the barest of sounds, just air being blown through a trumpet, no exact pitch. To this is brought the harmonic tones of a second trumpet, playing an almost dirge-like melody. The bass enters with a plucking of strings, and then a roll on the toms. It’s a lot like waking up in the morning, where you first hear one bird’s call, and then another, then the dripping of rain off the leaves, then the far off thunderheads. Each sound is so distinct you can focus on one of them or all of them.

In some cases, however, the focus is more on the interaction between two of the four sounds. At times the two trumpets will play contrary melodies to each other, so that sometimes the sounds clash harmonically and other times they blend serenely. The interaction between the bass and drums is more dynamic, with one playing off the other so that there is a constantly building energy and tension between the two.

Other times, it is about a singular sound rising above the rest. There are several powerful bass solos, where the rich dark tones rise above the rest of the fray to stand in the spotlight. The use of the bow is especially provocative. The different mutes and attachments the trumpets use make their sounds unique, drawing the listener’s ear. There’s one place where the trumpet sounds almost like it’s snoring and another where it sounds like a runner out of breath.

Since this album was recorded live, there’s not evidence of a lot of mixing and editing. It’s on disc as it was played. Each player shows an incredibly creative arsenal of musical phonetics that is put into play here. The music stretches our capacity for listening, because each part is so intense and yet so much a part of the colossal whole.
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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Lorelei Clarke) Free Jazz / Avante Garde - CD Reviews Sat, 28 Jul 2007 19:00:00 -0500
Live 2007 4th Annual Concert Tour by SFJAZZ Collective http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/live-2007-4th-annual-concert-tour-by-sfjazz-collective.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/live-2007-4th-annual-concert-tour-by-sfjazz-collective.html The San Francisco Jazz Organization, or SFJAZZ, was founded to utilize the creativity of the Bay Area to encourage the development and appreciation of jazz. To do this t…

The San Francisco Jazz Organization, or SFJAZZ, was founded to utilize the creativity of the Bay Area to encourage the development and appreciation of jazz. To do this they created the SFJAZZ Collective in 2004, a group of eight performers/composers who are all bandleaders in their own right. This recording of their 4th annual concert tour shows that they have kept this concept in mind. The two-disc set is a combination of old and new, influences and products. While one disc is composed of works by the great Thelonious Monk arranged by the band members, the second disc is entirely new compositions.

Each member of the band arranged 1-3 of the Monk tunes on the album, a task which most of them describe as challenging at best. As pianist Renee Rosnes comments: "When you’re learning to play, as a matter of course, you imitate the masters. The problem with Monk is that his style is so starkly original, there’s no way to imitate him without sounding completely derivative." While these tunes still bear the Monk mark, they all have a new twist that makes you listen carefully for what’s coming next. In "Epistrophy", arranged by alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, the melody line is played as a harmonized horn soli. He then inserts an extended interlude so that the rhythm section can build up a driving bass line until the horns come back in with the melody. Through out the head, there are constant interjections from piano, bass and drums to keep the energy level high. By the time solos come around, the music isn’t as frantic but still has all the drive of the interlude. Compared to the "Epistrophy" recording from, say, Thelonious Monk Quartet at Carnegie Hall, Zenón’s version utilizes the rhythm section for more than just keeping an even, straight ahead feel. The horn harmonies have a very Monkish sound to them, and Zenón’s solo utilizes the same simplistic, melodic ideas found in much of the composer's music. Overall, this arrangement has all the elegance of Monk’s original composition, but with the added energy created by the rhythm section. Very good listening.

Disc two is full of more surprises as the band members exhibit their own compositional skills. Each is a very unique piece. Renee Rosnes’ "Lion’s Gate" utilizes harmonized horn soli to give the music a flowing, lyrical sound. "Haast Paas", written by bassist Matt Penman, begins with a vibraphone feature, but evolves into a Latin beat with an almost bossa nova horn melody led by trumpeter Dave Douglas. "Life at the End of the Tunnel" starts out as a trumpet/trombone duet where the rest of the band gradually adds back in. The piano and vibraphone background at first creates an abstract feel, but this grows into a punctuated rhythm driven by the horn lines.

Overall this whole album has an extremely high degree of musicianship and sophistication. Not only is the playing top notch, but one can also learn textbooks from the arranging and composing used here. Definitely looking forward to next year’s tour.
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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Lorelei Clarke) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Sat, 21 Jul 2007 13:00:00 -0500
Chimera by Russ Spiegel http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/chimera-by-russ-spiegel.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/contemporary-jazz-cd-reviews/chimera-by-russ-spiegel.html So many of us end up in careers we never intended to pursue. I think we can all say that it’s a good thing Russ Spiegel decided to break off his graduate studies in phil…

So many of us end up in careers we never intended to pursue. I think we can all say that it’s a good thing Russ Spiegel decided to break off his graduate studies in philosophy and apply to Berklee College, where he studied composition, arranging and guitar performance. Now an established part of the New York music scene, Spiegel releases this fourth album, Chimera, in all original compositions, with the exception of the standard "Cherokee."

In reading Spiegel’s short biography in the liner notes, you get the impression that he is a complex man coming from an influential background, and it shows in his compositions. The title track, "Chimera," is meant to be a double entendre, describing both the mythical beast and the idea of a fantasy or impossible scheme. The piece is constantly changing; meter, mood, tempo, and beat are all a fluid continuum between different themes. While it starts out with a gentle vibraphone and drum melody, when the horns enter, the pace shifts to a fast bebop feel. The meter changes between five, four and three make the piece challenging, but the group executes each change with a fluidity that comes only from playing with one another for a long time.

To change gears completely from the whirlwind of time and beat that "Chimera" is, Spiegel also gives us some more sensual sounds, such as "Polychrome World." The melody of this lyrical Brazilian bossa nova is first played by saxophonist Arun Luthra after an introduction by guitar, vibraphones and drums. The mixing of Lydian and minor chords gives the piece a sad, reminiscent tone, while the solos have a more upbeat quality to them that contrasts the background phrases. Overall, it is a very empathetic piece. Spiegel’s solo is very much in character for the bossa nova feel, mixing in some Latin-type phrases every now and again.

"Wo Bleibt Die Seele" (German for "Where Is the Soul?") shows the darker side of Spiegel’s music. He describes the piece as "a musing on the state of a world where so much today seems soulless." A ponderous beat between drums and vibraphones gives the impression of drudging feet pointlessly marching on. Spiegel uses some distortion in this piece, perhaps to give it a more raw and primal edge. The horn lines ring with discord and dissonant harmonies as well, while the drums keep up the ponderous beat through out the piece. Like the rest of the pieces on this album, this is emotionally-charged music that is likely a lot more difficult than the musicians make it out to be.

The rest of the tracks all have their own appeal. Spiegel’s version of "Cherokee" uses an F pedal-tone that works its way up to the bridge, where he uses Coltrane’s "Countdown" changes. "The Last March" is a very free style piece with a lot of interaction during the solos. Overall, another great release from an amazing composer.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Lorelei Clarke) Contemporary Jazz - CD Reviews Wed, 18 Jul 2007 19:00:00 -0500
In Your Own Time by Eric Frazier http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/various-jazz-styles-cd-reviews/in-your-own-time-by-eric-frazier.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/various-jazz-styles-cd-reviews/in-your-own-time-by-eric-frazier.html In Your Own Time is all about the groove. You can hear it in every track, in how everyone just settles down and plays in the pocket. There’s not a lot of showy, t…

In Your Own Time is all about the groove. You can hear it in every track, in how everyone just settles down and plays in the pocket. There’s not a lot of showy, technical racing around the chart, just the easy, flowing, dancing groove. You can tell that Eric Frazier gets a lot of the influence for his music from dance, because this music is made for movement. This Conga player, dancer, vocalist and composer definitely seems to have had a good time making this album, mixing all his favorite styles and sounds into a beautiful, vibrant collection of original tracks.

"Feeling So Unnecessary" starts out the album with a funky piano riff backed up by Frazier on congas and Alvin Atkinson on the drum set. The tune spends a good amount of time just stewing, leaving plenty of empty space between the horn lines. Jeremy Pelt does some fine trumpet work and Danny Mixon takes a solo on the piano before turning it over to Frazier for some funky conga work.

To switch gears, there’s the Latin-inspired "Que Tenga Un Buendia". The salsa beat begs for a dance and the horns make their lines snappy and sharp. Frazier brings in some background vocals for this chart to give it more of a chorus feeling, like something being played at a community gathering where everyone joins in singing.

Most of the charts on this album, however, are solid, straight-ahead swing tunes with some of Frazier’s unique flair. "The Jazz Spot" has him singing a fast bop, exemplifying everything the name implies. "I’m Impressed" is a little more laid back, but still has the same Basie-style piano licks to keep it swinging. "Like a Lion in the Serengeti" is a tribute written for Lou Rawls, an uptempo shuffle tune that features some great Chicago-style blues solos by all the players.

This doesn’t sound like a studio-recorded album. This sounds like a bunch of fellow musicians getting together to play on a Sunday afternoon. There’s a very laid-back, easy-going feel to the whole album, a focus on the groove and the overall sound. Everybody swings to the same beat and it shows in the seamless communication and rhythmic integrity of the group on the whole. Very good listening overall, and highly recommended to anyone who sings in their car or dances in their bedroom
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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Lorelei Clarke) Various Jazz Styles - CD Reviews Wed, 23 Aug 2006 19:00:00 -0500
Summer Me, Winter Me by Jan Eisen http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/summer-me-winter-me-by-jan-eisen.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/jazz-vocals-cd-reviews/summer-me-winter-me-by-jan-eisen.html Jan Eisen has been a performing vocalist for many years, yet this album is unique for her in that it was recorded, as she terms it, the "old fashion way," with all four …

Jan Eisen has been a performing vocalist for many years, yet this album is unique for her in that it was recorded, as she terms it, the "old fashion way," with all four musicians playing together with the recording engineer as their audience. There is no overdubbing or fixing of voices or instruments, just musicians getting together to play. The album eludes a very relaxed feel that perhaps comes for this type of setting. Eisen’s breathy, sultry style also helps to give the impression of a club scene.

Another reason this album stands out is the music selection. Eisen has chosen some standards mixed with some more obscure vocal tunes. The opener, "Papa Can You Hear Me", is an example of these. Not a commonly heard track, it starts the album out with a unique sound. Special guest Alex Acuna adds to the feel with supporting rhythms on bongos and congas to the rhythmic guitar. Drummer Kendall Kay does some good brushwork on the set as well. But, it is Eisen’s mournful vocals that make the tune.

A more traditional tune, "Darn That Dream," is no less provocative when played in this setting. The bossa nova feel works well for this traditional ballad. Eisen’s vocals are of a higher timbre, giving the piece a more uplifting mood. Bassist Benjamin May gives a great solo as well.

Probably my favorite tune on the album, however, is the title track, "Summer Me, Winter Me." The up-tempo Latin groove keeps the melody going, yet Eisen still manages to give each note her special touch. There is a lot of interchange between her and guitarist Jamie Findlay and bassist May, with her trading phrases with the two rhythm players during the solo section.

As far as the album's goal of having more musical interchange by playing together in a group, this album shows a good deal of musical cooperation. There are, however, some issues with the recording setting. The bass is hard to hear for most of the album, (unless May is soloing, and then you will still want to turn the volume up to hear properly). The drum set can also get lost behind Eisen’s powerful vocals and Acuna’s hand drums, but overall, it is a good album with some good displays of musicianship.
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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Lorelei Clarke) Jazz Vocals - CD Reviews Tue, 22 Aug 2006 13:00:00 -0500
My Museum by Phil Kelly and the South West Santa Ana Winds http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/my-museum-by-phil-kelly-and-the-south-west-santa-ana-winds.html http://www.jazzreview.com/cd-reviews/straight-ahead-classic-cd-reviews/my-museum-by-phil-kelly-and-the-south-west-santa-ana-winds.html While Phil Kelly’s Seattle-based band The Northwest Prevailing Wind is still doing well, during a trip to LA, he decided to get together some A-list musicians to …

While Phil Kelly’s Seattle-based band The Northwest Prevailing Wind is still doing well, during a trip to LA, he decided to get together some A-list musicians to do a straight ahead jazz recording. From this was born The Southwest Santa Ana Winds. With new twists on some favorite standard arrangements and a few originals, this album is just all around fun to listen to.

Beginning with "Jeannine," which was popularized by Cannonball Adderley and often used by Dick Stein on his KPLU show, this track is a swinging, bouncy chart. The trombones lead the show and then the rest of the band joins in with plenty of pops and hits. Great solos by trumpeter Bob Summers, trombonist Andy Martin and tenor player Pete Christlieb.

"Pleading Dim Cap" is a Phil Kelly original showing the versatility of the diminished scale. A funky beat and some aggressive brass lines give the piece a down-and-dirty feel. The balance between the sections is perfect, so the diminished chords come through clearly and brightly.

The title track, "My Museum" changes the feel to a more abstract, mysterious scenario. Vocalist Greta Matassa contributes a haunting melody while accompanied by a string section. The horn backgrounds are somewhat predictable, and make the song sound like something from a Disney movie. But overall, it is a very moving piece.

While "Body and Soul" is usually played as a ballad, this version begins as a fast samba and goes to a straight mid-section played by baritone sax soloist Bill Ramsay. At the end, it briefly turns to ballad tempo before returning to the samba, and finishing up with a cliche bebop tag. The solo is beautifully done with all the different styles and tempos, changing the character of the sound to match the background.

It’s hard to listen to this album and not have a smile on your face by the time it’s done. The music is upbeat and there are plenty of musical gags that you don’t realize until the 4th or 5th time listening to it. Sometimes the sound is a little predictable, but if so, it's a good trend to follow. All the solos are amazing and arrangements are well fitted to the group. We can only hope Phil Kelly continues to work with this group.

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morrice.blackwell@gmail.com (Lorelei Clarke) Straight-Ahead - CD Reviews Tue, 22 Aug 2006 07:00:00 -0500