composed of flutist-composer Valerie Coleman, oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz, clarinetist Mariam Adam, French horn player-composer Jeff Scott, and bassoonist Monica Ellis. The UHart concert features several pieces by Ms. Coleman, an exciting arrangement of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" plus works by Simon Shaheen, Gyorgy Ligeti and Karel Husa.
The quintet is known for its unique repertoire, ranging from collaborations with saxophonist-composer Wayne Shorter and Jason Moran, to recordings of holiday music and a project dedicated to Josephine Baker. They are all fine players and this should be a wonderful concert. For more information, go to www.hartford.edu/hartt or call 860-768-4228.
music.yale.edu or call 203-432-4158
Compared to the live recordings where the majority of the songs clock in at over 10 minutes, this session, with the exception of Charles Moore's "Number 4" (16:17) and Herbie Hancock's "I Have A Dream" (11:36) has 4 songs under 8:25. Then again, Weiss ties the Hancock song to Tony Williams' "Black Comedy" (7:18), a song that first appeared on Miles Davis's "Miles In The Sky." Both pieces are propelled by the dynamic drumming of Williams - when he and Curtis lock in, this music soars. Felder's rhythm work is also worth mentioning. His is the only chordal instrument and Felder is the foundation of this music, allowing the rhythm section to roam at will. He eschews louder volume for a more mellow tone and his solo work is excellent. On "Black Comedy", the guitarist plays against the beat as well as riding atop it to great effect. It's illuminating to hear Allen stretch on these songs as his own Trio material is usually fairly short and filled with interplay.
"Snuck In" has appeared on all 3 CDs - the song, also composed by trumpeter Charles Moore for Kenny Cox and the Contemporary Jazz Quartet (a group based in Detroit, Michigan, that was active on the 1960s and 70s), has a compelling forward motion. Curtis, Felder and Williams really drive this peace hard and the front line does an excellent of floating the melody over the energetic rhythms. "Number 4" has a similar feel but, here, it's Williams and Curtis who lead the charge through the song. The bassist dances beneath Allen's expansive and thoughtful solo. Weiss, who is also the catalyst behind The Cookers (the "super" group with Billy Harper, Dr. Eddie Henderson, Billy Hart, Cecil McBee, Craig Handy and George Cables), displays the influence of Freddie Hubbard in his lengthy yet quite coherent solo. Felder and Williams play a fiery duo before the drummer takes the spotlight for his excellent solo.
The quintet recorded "Erato" by Andrew Hill on "Snuck In", this CD includes 2 Hill compositions including the title track (first recorded on Hill's "Grass Roots" Lp) and "Pax" (a piece from 1965 that was not released until 1975). The latter is the "ballad" of the recording, with a melody from the trumpet and saxophone that weaves in and around the counterpoint of the guitar. Williams is quite active but also somewhat subdued, serving to "color" the work of the front line and guitarist.
"Venture Inward" has the sound of American jazz in the mid-to-late 1960s but these renditions are not slavish recreations. David Weiss wisely uses younger musicians, ones who bring fresh ears and minds to this music. The housing market may have collapsed in 2008, the banking industry suffered great losses but Weiss's Point of Departure quintet gave the jazz world 3 excellent recordings. For more information, go to www.posi-tone.com/vinward/vinward.html.