|Photo: Mercedes Jelinek|
|Photo: Bill Douthart|
Each album in the trilogy, all available digitally through Flexatonic Records (link is below), is filled with intelligent arrangements, brilliant vocals, impeccable musicianship, and the overall emotion that music, whether familiar or not, can bring the listener a sense of wonder, feelings of joy, and hope for better times. Kudos to John Hollenbeck, brava to Kate McGarry, Theo Bleckmann, Gary Versace, and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band––savor all these sounds.
For more information, go to https://johnhollenbeck.com. To purchase the music from Flexitonic, go to https://johnhollenbeck.bandcamp.com/album/songs-you-like-a-lot.
Here's the Peter Gabriel song:
John Hollenbeck composer, arranger, conductor
Theo Bleckmann · voice
Kate McGarry · voice
Gary Versace · piano, organ
Frankfurt Radio Big Band
Heinz-Dieter Sauerborn · alto/soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute
Oliver Leicht · alto/soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute, piccolo
Ben Kraef · tenor/soprano saxophone, flute
Steffen Weber · tenor/soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute, alto flute
Rainer Heute · bari/bass saxophone, Bb/bass/contra-bass clarinet, flute
Frank Wellert · trumpet/flugelhorn
Thomas Vogel · trumpet/flugelhorn
Martin Auer · trumpet/flugelhorn
Axel Schlosser · trumpet/flugelhorn
Christian Jaksjø · trombone
Felix Fromm · trombone
Shannon Barnett · trombone
Manfred Honetschläger · bass trombone
Martin Scales · guitar
Hans Glawischnig · bass
Jean Paul Höchstädter · drums
Special guest: Claus Kiesselbach · mallet percussion, timpani
|Photo: D'Addario Woodwinds|
here. These musicians are all first-class improvisors and Prieto writes to their strengths. But, this is not merely a "blowing" album. The leader writes intelligent, well-constructed, melodies with smart harmonies plus the music often gives the rhythm section the opportunity to determine the flow. Listen to how he makes the six or seven piece ensemble (Boccato appears on six of the nine tracks while Keberle plays on five) sound like a 10 or 12 piece band with his fine voicings and overlapping melodies on many of the themes. When he and Sipiagin blend their voices (as they do on the title track and on "Incandescent"), the songs remind this writer somewhat of the Andrew Hill especially on his 1999 Palmetto album "Dusk". Blake, who now plays alongside the saxophonist, Versace, and Keberle in the Maria Schneider aggregation, is a powerhouse throughout the recording. Just listen to how he and Weidenmueller combine to push the ensemble forward on "Quantum Entanglement" as well as on the opening track "Kakistocracy."
|Photo: Jimmy & Dena Katz|
The album closes with "Orison", an archaic word for "prayer". After a handsome solo bass intro,
Boccato's bells and hand percussion plus Blakes's exploration around the drum kit underpin the lovely three-way melody. Keberle steps into his short, yet, heartfelt solo, joined half-way through in conversation by Sipiagin's flugelhorn––Pietro on soprano sax and Versace's acoustic piano join the those voices until the four parts join together in melody while the drums create a righteous storm.
"Hypersphere" is intelligent, often powerful, music, an album that blends strong compositions with excellent musicianship without sounding technical or emotionless. Dave Pietro, the composer, is responding to the world around, to the crazy shifts in politics and, in hindsight, in global health, reminding us we are stronger when working together than standing apart.
For more information, go to www.davepietro.com. To purchase the album, go to https://www.artistshare.com/Projects/Experience/361/515/1/Dave-Pietro-Hypersphere?v=2 or to https://davepietro.bandcamp.com.
Listen to the evocative ballad "Boulder Snowfall":