Posi-Tone Records, the Band moved to Smoke Sessions Records which released "Presence" in 2018. That album, recorded in Philly, featured a slimmed-down version of the ensemble (nine musicians instead of the usual 16-18) yet retains the power and raucous quality that has been the band's personality since its inception. CBBB's fourth album, "The Intangible Between", finds the ensemble back up to full strength, back in the studio, and creating thoughtful, exciting, provocative music. Many of the tracks include two bassists, Eric Revis being one of them, and powerful soloists in each section – included are trumpeter Sean Jones, saxophonists Stacy Dillard and Immanuel Wilkins, and others – see personnel below.
The Captain Black Band is getting better with age. Always run as more of a cooperative, with members contributing both songs and arrangements, the CBBB plays with fire and enthusiasm, eschewing labels and genres to create its own voice in a growing sea of large ensembles. "The Intangible Between" is essential listening at any time but especially in this time of social unrest and pandemic. Orrin Evans and company offer hope, humor, and beauty in this exciting 65 minute package.
For more information about the Bad, go to www.orrinevansmusic.com.
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Orrin Evans: piano;
Luques Curtis: bass;
Eric Revis: bass;
Madison Rast: bass;
Mark Whitfield Jr., Anwar Marshall: drums;
Thomas Marriott: Josh Lawrence: Sean Jones: trumpet;
Caleb Wheeler Curtis: Troy Roberts, Immanuel Wilkins, Stacy Dillard, Todd Bashore: alto and tenor saxophones
David Gibson, Reggie Watkins: trombone;
Jason Brown: drums;
Joseph Block: keyboards;
Dylan Reis: bass
Trumpeter, composer, arranger, and band leader Daniel Hersog hails from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He graduated from the New England Conservatory in 2016 where he met, studied, and worked with pianist Frank Carlberg, drummer John Hollenbeck, trumpeter John McNeil, and many others. He now teaches music and conducts plus serves as the composer for Big Band at North Vancouver's Capilano University. He also teaches trumpet and leads the school's Trumpet Ensemble. For his debut album, "Night Devoid of Stars" (Cellar Live), he's working with the 16-member Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra – most of the musicians hail from Canada are joined by saxophonist Noah Preminger (who is the "featured soloist"), drummer Michael Sarin, and pianist Carlberg.
The eight-song program (seven Hersog originals plus a classy rearrangement of the venerable Jerome Kern piece "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes") shines from the opening seconds to the raucous closing track. Close your eyes, don't read the liner notes, and make up own your mind; I heard music inspired and influenced by Bob Brookmeyer , Jim McNeely, Maria Schneider and Thad Jones plus Darcy James Argue. Yet, once you listen again, those influences mostly die away and each track begins to stand out. "Cloud Break" starts off the album in a forward motion with the first five notes sounding like the melody of "Getting To Know You" – the melody opens up like a morning flower before the sections drop back for a delightful solo from trumpeter (and one of Hersog's mentors) Brad Turner. Sarin and bassist James Meger lock into the groove as the solo unwinds. The sections return to usher out the trumpeter, opening the door for Preminger's powerful solo – the Boston, MA-based saxophonist is in great voice throughout.
The pieces in the program feel as if they have been percolating for a long time but do not sound overworked. That's thanks to the fine musicianship. Carlberg's long, rhythmical solo opens "Motion" with Sarin's cymbal work standing out. After he steps back, the reeds and brass sounds like a power blossoming before Preminger digs in for a powerful statement. "Makeshift Memorial" is one of the loveliest large ensemble compositions of the past several years, voices echoing throughout the melody section – listen to how Preminger's saxophone wheels in and around the others reeds and the brass. The title track flows forward in a joyous rush; note how the sections are integrated with the soloists, Preminger and Turner, and inspire to flights of fancy. I especially like the use of the flute and piccolo to add to the brightness of the music.
|Photo: Robert Iannone|
The album closes with two playful pieces. The stop-start beginning of "Indelible" leads to a medium tempo rhythm and then, the fun begins. The spirited clarinet solo by Tom Keenlyside interacts with the piano until the trumpets return with bird-like chatter over a droning trombone note. Listen to how Hersog has the playful clarinets and flutes support the trumpet melody. The closing track, "Song for Henrique" (dedicated to pianist Henrique Eisenmann), opens with a classical flourish provided by the solo piano. Then, the band jumps into a dramatic yet playful tango with the sections involved in the dance before Carlberg moves off into his solo. Preminger's solo takes place in rubato with rumblings from the brass while Sarin explodes underneath. When the rhythm returns, the trumpets, acting like toreadors, lead the way to the end.
"Night Devoid of Stars" is a delightful introduction to the music and artistry of Daniel Hersog. During the hour-long program, he and his cohorts take the listener to so many places and through so many emotions. Listening to the Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra leaves one in a better frame of mind thanks to the creativity of the composer-arranger, the inventive solos, and fun that emanates from musicians doing what they love to do. Kudos to Frank Carlberg and Noah Preminger for bringing more light to the sessions.
For more information, go to www.danielhersog.com.
Take a look and listen to the title track:
Chris Startup :Alto Saxophone, Clarinet
Michael Braverman: Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet
Noah Preminger: Tenor Saxophone
Tom Keenlyside: Tenor Saxophone, flute, piccolo, alto flute
Ben Henriques: Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet
Michael Kim: Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Brad Turner: Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Derry Byrne: Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Jocelyn Waugh: Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Rod Murray: Trombone
Jim Hopson: Trombone
Brian Harding: Trombone
Sharman King: Bass Trombone
Frank Carlberg: Piano
James Meger: Bass
Michael Sarin: Drums
|Photo: Peter Gannushkin|
Spellman utilizes the instrumentation that Davis and Evans employed for their original projects and, entranced by the sonic possibilities, created his own music. There are some similarities that ones hears throughout; the leader is a fine trumpeter, the intelligent use of the "lower" sounds of the tuba (Ben Stapp), trombone (Tim Schneier), and baritone saxophone (Taylor Burchfield) plus the way Spellman's arrangements utilizes Evans-like harmonic clusters. Also, the majority of the music captures the enthusiasm of be-bop that the 1950s recording demonstrated. There's a delightful wit involved here as well. Spellman's "The Isles of Langerhans" has a romantic title but is named for "the islets", or specialized cells, found in the pancreas of most vertebrates (discovered by 19th Century German physical Paul Langerhans). The tune is part of the leader's "Endocrinology Suite". Even better, the title does not detract from the fine performance!
|Photo: Peter Gannushkin|
"Revenge of the Cool" is more than just a tribute to the classic "Birth of the Cool", it's also the sound of a composer-arranger coming to terms with his influences and moving beyond them. There's much to like listening to the debut album of the Benny Spellman Nonet – one fervently hopes that we get to see and hear the band play in person because one can tell from the album that the ensemble can really "hit it".
For more information, go to www.bobbyspellman.com. To hear some of the music and purchase the album, go to https://sunnysiderecords.bandcamp.com/album/revenge-of-the-cool.
Here's "At The Brink":
Bobby Spellman - composer, trumpet & slide trumpet
Emily Pecorard - alto saxophone (on the opening track only)
David Leon - alto saxophone (all tracks but 1)
Tyler Burchfield - baritone saxophone
Kyra Sims - French horn (six tracks)
Justin Mullens - French horn (two tracks)
Tim Shneier - trombone
Ben Stapp - tuba
Ben Schwendener - piano (six tracks)
Eli Wallace - piano (two tracks)
Andrew Schiller - bass
Evan Hyde - drums