Pragmatic Optimism finds Drummer Wade Barnes and his Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble on a hopeful mission of spiritual advocacy. Through selfless interplay and a swinging sense of musical community, this 17-piece ensemble explores the fresh directions in jazz brought forth through imaginative arrangements of original compositions and standards.
Wade and company present an integral musical vision colored with openness and celebration of human potential, all the while questioning the status quo. As a reminder of societal progress and shortcomings, the session begins with a pair of thought provoking pieces featuring the endearing vocalist Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch on the Bob Dylan classic "Blowin’ in the Wind" and "King," a tribute to the late civil rights leader.
As a drummer, Wade is an aggressive sympathizer who is able to propel his musicians toward achieving their personal best. As an arranger and composer, the leader is able to steer the ensemble down a multitude of musical pathways; his sparse rhythmic designs and dark colored orchestrations are highlighted on "The Power of Feeling" and "The Power of Thought."
Along with the overall strength of the orchestra, The Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble is loaded with outstanding soloists. Featured most prominently are vibraphonist William Ware, pianist John Nam and guitarist Yoshiki Miura.
The collaborative efforts presented on Pragmatic Optimism are vital to the progression of jazz. The endeavors of such an uncompromising musical community help to keep the genre vital and relevant.