Monday, May 30, 2016
Large Ensemble Music Spring '16 (Part II)
The Invisible Hand" that he recorded with Greg Osby and Jim Hall) and "Quemando Velas" (Burning Candles). Both are ballads, the Hill composition retaining the spare quality of its original, a striking melody for flugelhorn with Klein's arrangement built right off the melody. The latter piece begins immediately after the previous song, the melody carried by the alto and tenor saxophones but notice the echoes behind the front lines as well as Monder's shimmering accompaniment. The melody shifts to the brass, quietly pushed forward by percussion. The delicacy of the music is matched by the emotional content, there's a feeling of peace and contentment as the song slowly concludes.
"V" is a work that demands your attention and rewards the listener many times over. Like the previous recordings of Los Guachos, the seamless blend of melody with harmony, the way the Argentinean rhythms permeate so much of the music as well as the impressive ensemble arrangements, all those factors and more illustrate the artistry of Guillermo Klein. Highly recommended!
For more information and to sample the album, go to sunnysidezone.com/album/los-guachos-v.
His new CD, "Andy Jaffe Nonet + 4: Arc" (Playscape Recordings) looks backwards even as it moves forward. The impetus for the program came from a semester that he spent teaching and performing in Taiwan. Played by an impressive ensemble that includes the reed section of Kris Allen (alto saxophone), Jimmy Greene (tenor and soprano saxes), Bruce Williamson (bass clarinet, soprano sax), and Tom Olin (tenor, soprano, and baritone saxes) plus the unorthodox brass section of Wallace Roney (trumpet) and John Clark (French horn). Besides the leader on piano and all arrangements, the rhythm section consists of his son Marty Jaffe (bass) and Jonathan Barber (drums). The "4" alluded to in the album title is the Interesting Quartet from Taiwan composed of Wei-jun Hwang (first violin), Wei-hsin Liu (second violin), Chiee Yeh (viola) and Jiro Yeh (cello) who appear on four of the nine cuts.
The album includes two lovely ballads, "In Case This Is Goodbye" and "Now Then", both new works. The title of the former gives the piece its emotional foundation, the melody, colored by the strings and the deep sounds of the bass clarinet, its heart, and the soloists its true expression. Allen's alto rises high above the rhythm section whereas the strings accompany the excellent soprano solo. Clark's solo is so understated but powerful while Marty Jaffe's bowed solo is pleasingly melodic. The strings return for the piano solo with an arrangement that leads back to the opening theme. The album's final track, "Now Then", is lovely with fine percussion from Barber, sweet underpinning from the bass clarinet and other reeds while the French horn plays the theme and has the first solo.
Roney shines as a member of the ensemble plus his expressive set as a soloist. He fires on all cylinders on the highly-swinging "Brainworm" (Barber is the driving force here) and during a lengthy solo on "Fleurette Chinoise" (Greene's soprano solo on this track is wonderfully playful). Roney's muted solo and ensemble playing on the title track also stands out.
"Arc" is a collection of pieces that contain so many delightful elements, from melodies that sing in one's ears to arrangements that fill out the sound without cluttering the aural landscape to solos, many of them short, that are creative and direct. Andy Jaffe Nonet + 4 is a long-awaited gem from this classy composer, arranger, and first-class pianist.
For more information, go to andyjaffe.com.