"String Quartet No. 1, III. Allegro vivace". Jeff Miles' slide guitar leads the ensemble into that––when the barrage of sounds conclude, the band into a Brechtian tango before rocking out once more. A gentle entry into the sound world of Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 6, II. Allegro con grazia" leads to a playful waltz. Cinematic in scope, the music flows up and out of the speakers leading to delightful solos by Aaron Irwin (alto saxophone) and Nick Grinder (trombone).
"Urban(e)" is truly an aural treat. Whether you know the original pieces or not, the creative arrangements of Mike Fahie posits you in the midst of the Jazz Orchestra. This music is emotionally moving and, at times, a real romp. Just let the sounds flow over you and your day will be better for it.
For more information, go to www.mikefahie.com. To listen to more and to purchase the recording, go to https://mikefahie.bandcamp.com/album/urban-e.
Music by Claude Debussy for your ears––check out the video on the Bandcamp page):
Aaron Irwin, Anton Denner, Chet Doxas, Quinsin Nachoff, Carl Maraghi
Brian Pareschi, David Smith, Sam Hoyt, Brad Mason
Matthew McDonald, Nick Grinder, Daniel Linden, Jennifer Wharton
Arrangements, Orchestrations, Trombone, Euphonium
|Photo: Mariana Maraz|
Odio La Mascara Y El Vicio" (I Hate the Mask and Vice)––after Ms. Meza completes the verses, the tempo picks up, pushed by the powerful rhythms by drummer Jimmy Macbride and veteran percussionist Samuel Torres. When the vocalist returns, now over the faster tempos, the music takes a powerful turn. Ms. Rei steps out on the next track, "Es Rubia, El Cabello Suelto" (She is Blonde: loose hair); her voice seems to rise out of the ensemble especially as she sings a wordless vocal along with the brass and reeds. A melodic electric bass solo by Pedro Giraudo opens "El Enemigo Brutal" (The Brutal Enemy) supported only by the hand percussion of Mauricio Herrera and the synthesized strings of the leader before Ms. Rei steps into the tale of an ugly war, her husky voice a fascinating contrast to the sharp brass and bright reeds. The gentle flow of the medley "Yo Quiero Salir Del Mundo / Yo Pienso Cuando Me Alegro" (I Want to Leave the World/ I Think, When I'm Glad) grows slowly but surely in intensity as more instruments are added. Ms. Meza enters after a short alto saxophone statement and glides through the vocal. Valera employs the same melody as the first section for the second poem in the melody. Here, the vocal is doubled by guitarist Alex Goodman giving the piece a shimmering feel.
Si Quiere Que De Este Mundo" (If You Want From this World) that features Ms. Rei taking the lead and also joining the ensemble with her wordless vocals. Valera takes a fine, playful, solo over the rest of the rhythm section followed by an exciting trumpet solo (no credit) and the a rousing spot for baritone saxophonist Andrew Gutauskas. Macbride and Torres's percussion interchange leads the ensemble back in for an intense finish.
For more information, go to www.manuelvalera.com. To listen to more music and purchase the recording, go to https://manuelvaleranewcubanexpressbigband.bandcamp.com.
Here's the opening track (with vocals by Camila Meza):
Camila Meza (on three tracks
Sofia Rei (on four tracks)
John Walsh (Lead on two tracks)
Brian Pareschi (Lead on five tracks)
Michael Thomas (Lead Alto and Soprano Saxophones, C and Piccolo Flutes)
Roman Filiu (Alto and Soprano Saxophones, Flute and Alto Flute)
Joel Frahm (Tenor and Soprano Saxophones)
Charles Pillow (Tenor and Soprano Saxophones, Clarinet)
Andrew Gutauskas (Baritone Saxophone and Bass Clarinet)
Matt McDonald (Lead)
Jeff Nelson (Bass)
Manuel Valera (Piano, Celeste and Keyboards)
Alex Goodman (Guitar)
Ricky Rodriguez (Bass)
Jimmy Macbride (Drums)
Samuel Torres (Percussion on five tracks
Mauricio Herrera (Percussion on two tracks)