here) so one should expect quite the eclectic repertoire, from Duke Ellington to Lennon & McCartney, from Noel Coward to "Fats" Waller. It's a classy quartet with a splendid repertoire - chances are very good you will be mesmerized even as you are tapping your feet.
For ticket information, go to thesidedoorjazz.com or call 860-434-2600.
Here's the title track from the CD mentioned above:
Late October saw the release of "Jigsaw" (Sunnyside Records), his second recording featuring his 17-member large ensemble. It's pretty much the same group that recorded the 2013 album except that trombonists John Fedchock and Jacob Garchik replace Josh Roseman, Ryan Keberle, and Tim Albright (the latter two each appear on for tracks) plus trumpeter Alex Norris is the full-time replacement for Taylor Haskins (full lineup below). Ferber is a such an intelligent arranger, making such creative choices for his sections, utilizing the great dynamic differences between the trombones and the higher reeds as well as Anthony Wilson's electric guitar. Note how the medium-tempo ballad "She Won't Look Back" (composed by Wilson) builds off of the bluesy guitar intro and Matt Pavolka's melodic bass solo. There are hints of W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" in the main melody and the supporting brass and reed phrases. The solos are spread around from Garchik to John Ellis (tenor sax) to Rob Wilkerson (alto sax) to trumpeter Norris, culminating in a hard-edged solo from Wilson that slow fades with various players in counterpoint to the guitar.
The loveliest performance is "North Rampart", a ballad composed by the leader. It opens with a short brass fugue that signals the emotional depth of what will follow. The main melody is played by the reeds and brass with fine harmonies and counterpoint built in. Wilson takes the first solo; theres a "twang" in his sound but the blend of single-note runs and chordal phrases (played over the rhythm section only). John Ellis enters next. The reeds and brass play the emotional melody while the alto saxophonist swoops and darts around them (but make sure to listen to the excellent drumming). The brass return at the end with Ellis continuing to rise above them.
One could go on and on about how delightful "Jigsaw" is to listen to. The music is, at times, challenging yet the ensemble is so alive, the sound is so clear, the melodies rich, ripe with possibilities. If you enjoy the large ensemble music of Stan Kenton, Bob Brookmeyer, Gil Evans, and Maria Schneider, then the Alan Ferber Big Band will brighten your life perceptibly.
For more information, go to www.alanferber.com.
Here's the title track:
John O'Gallagher (alto and soprano saxophones), Rob Wilkerson (alto sax), John Ellis (tenor sax, bass clarinet), Jason Rigby (tenor sax, flute), Chris Cheek (baritone sax), John Fedchock (trombone), Jacob Garchik (trombone), Jennifer Wharton (bass trombone), Tony Kadleck (trumpet, flugelhorn), Scott Wendholt (trumpet, flugelhorn), Alex Norris (trumpet, flugelhorn), Clay Jenkins (trumpet, flugelhorn), Anthony Wilson (guitar), David Cook (piano, keyboards), Matt Pavolka (acoustic and electric basses), Mark Ferber (drums, percussion), Alan Ferber (trombone, composer, arranger) + Rogerio Boccato (percussion on two tracks).