This recent venture represents something of a transformation for New York City based, and mega-talented reedman/composer Rob Reddy. Abetted by grants and other artistic funding mechanisms, Reddy employs a nineteen-piece ensemble, captured live at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. The four-part series of works are interwoven in such a matter, that the storyline seemingly continues in various shapes and is founded upon a line from Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer’s "A Winter Night." Yet, Reddy expounded upon matters via his comprehensions of mythology, natural disasters and social oppression among other topics of relevance. Moreover, Reddy puts down his horns and serves as the conductor throughout the entire program.
Guitarist Brandon Ross launches the opener titled "Spacious Skies/Faithless Bells," with resonating guitar lines, engineered with distortion and delay techniques. Essentially, he’s signaling a rather ominous string of events, followed by either Pheeroan akLaff or Guillermo E. Brown’s snare drum rolls as they open the door for the strings and horns sections and counterbalanced with chamber-like overtones. Ominous undercurrents take center-stage and are structured upon ascending choruses, where the band soars towards a zenith of sorts, eliciting notions of a darkly-hued musical environ.
Some of these passages are designed with dirge-like choruses, frequently topped-off by gutsy soloing by the various performers. On the third part "Fool’s March," the ensemble issues a weighty bump and grind motif, heightened by Ross’ fuzz-toned guitar lines and a staggered rock pulse. With a penetrating rite of passage amid contrasting shifts in tone and tempo, many of the particulars might be analogous to a complex plot, highlighted by sub-themes that reside as a back-end process.
It’s a wondrously articulate outing. Naturally, it is not intended for background, easy-listening type fare. On the contrary, it contains the feel and imagery of a serious-minded cinematic endeavor. When an artist succeeds at paralleling art with life − to include all the opposing angles − that is when the rewards become bountiful and tend to flourish with each subsequent listen. Such is the case here. (Recommended.... )