|Charles R. Hale Productions|
"Dancer In Nowhere" is impressive and expressive from the opening note to the final fade. Miho Hazama has grown up before our very ears. Her music is contemporary yet timeless and we are the beneficiaries of her brilliance.
For more information, go to www.mihohazama.com.
Here's the opening track:
Miho Hazama - conductor, composer
Steve Wilson - alto, soprano sax, flute
Ryoji Ihara - tenor sax, clarinet, flute
Jason Rigby - tenor sax, clarinet (4 & 8)
Andrew Gutauskas - baritone sax, bass clarinet
Jonathan Powell - trumpet, flugelhorn
Adam Unsworth - French horn
Tomato Akeboshi - violin
Sita Chay - violin
Atsugi Yoshida - viola
Meaghan Burke - cello
James Shipp - vibraphone, guiro, shekere
Billy Test - piano
Sam Anning - bass
Jake Goldbas - drums
Kavita Shah - voice (4 & 6)
Lionel Loueke - guitar (4)
Nate Wood - drums (8)
The Wing Walker Orchestra, an 11-piece ensemble organized by composer, arranger and bass clarinetist Drew Williams, has issued its debut album. "Hazel" (ears and eyes Records) is composed of the seven-part "Hazel Suite", two more Williams originals, and a reworking of tUnE-yArDs "Look Around". The "...Suite" is inspired by the graphic "space opera" series "Saga" created by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. As a listener, you do not need know that because the music stands on its own. The seven pieces utilizes all the voices in the ensemble; many of the songs ride on the powerful rhythms created by drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell. The initial five tracks are fairly short but the music hits its stride on parts VI and VII. The pounding drums and the clarinet melody leads the ensemble into "VI: Heists (or Your Majesty)", a piece that really pushes hard. The "low" instruments, trombones and tenor sax, continue the theme as the rest of the group begins to chime in. "VII: Ignition (or Hazel)" is much slower, the tolling piano note keeps the rhythm section as the brass and reeds quietly play longer notes. The intensity picks up once the bass drum replaces the piano note yet the music never changes tempo - although the piano plays tolling chords as the piece fades - nor is there a defined melody line.
Some of the thematic material on "Hazel" may remind listeners of the writing of Darcy James Argue. However, unlike many modern large ensembles, the reed section of the Wing Walker Orchestra does not double or triple on other instruments. Nevertheless, over its six years of existence, the ensemble has developed its own personality and one hopes this is just the first installment in a series of fine recordings with the promise of tours.
For more information, go to www.wingwalkermusic.com.
Give a listen:
Brad Mulholland - alto saxophone & clarinet
Eric Trudel - tenor saxophone
Drew Williams - bass clarinet
John Blevins - trumpet
Danny Gouker -trumpet
Karl Lyden - trombone
Nick Grinder - trombone
Jeff McLaughlin - guitar
Marta Sánchez - piano
Adam Hopkins - acoustic bass
Nathan Ellman-Bell - drums
Guitarist, composer, and arranger Chris Jentsch has, over the course two decades, released seven albums, the majority with larger ensembles. The latest is "Topics In American History" (self-released on Blue Schist Records) and features the Jentsch Group No Net, a splendid ensemble recored live in concert; the band features a group of Brooklyn-based musicians conducted by JC Sanford. The seven-song program covers, in its own special way, 460+ years of history Starting with "1491", just before the European ships ventured to the Caribbean; it's obvious this is an abstract history clarified by the liner notes. Still, the various voices of the ensemble, the strong rhythm section, and the intelligent arrangements help the listener to understand how the events referred to in the song titles helped to the shape the present day
|Photo: Gina Renzi|
Before the songs closes, other voices step out for monetary solo and duo lines pushed forward by drummer Eric Halvorson.
|Photo: Gayle Cornish|
"Topics In American History" is filled with good melodies and excellent musicianship. Every solo stands out as do the arrangements around the melody and the verses. Jentsch Group No Net, the brainchild of Chris Jentsch, tells us stories worth paying attention to.
For more information, go to chrisjentsch.com.
Chris Jentsch - electric guitar
Michael Gentile - flutes
Mike McGinnis - clarinets
Jason Rigby - tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
David Smith - trumpet, flugelhorn
Brian Drye - trombone
Jacob Sacks - piano
Jim Whitney - acoustic bass
Eric Halvorson - drums, percussion
JC Sanford - conductor