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Jeff Beal: Alternate Route

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

P>A review of this album is out of place in a jazz setting. It is classical music through and through and crystallizes the main differences between the two genre. This music is written down, all by Jeff Beal, and not subject to improvisation. There are no opportunities to play variations on a theme, which would be out of place and unwelcome.

The first four tracks are really movements in a concerto for trumpet/flugelhorn and orchestra. According to Beal, this concerto reflects pictures he sees in the writings of Robert M. Pirsig ("North"), Wendell Berry ("South"). Henry David Thoreau ("East") and Thomas Merton ("West"). The composition is interesting and entertaining. The 50 plus piece Berkeley Symphony supplies the appropriate orchestral setting for Beal's playing and does the work justice.

The second half of the program is with the Metropole Orchestra of The Netherlands which has backed many jazz players. While still having a classical bent, it is a little closer to jazz in terms of rhythmic patterns, especially in Beal's bluesey trumpet playing in "Reverse Evolution" and his Miles Davis like rendering on the appropriately named "Miles to Go".If you are into the jazz player turned classical composer and performers, this is the album for you

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Tracks:North; South; East; West; Circle Suite; Reverse Evolution; Miles to Go; The Way Home

Personnel: Jeff Beal - Trumpet/Flugelhorn; The Berkeley Symphony Orchestra; The Metropole Orchestra; Rob Pronk - Conductor

Record Label: Unitone Recordings

Style: Contemporary/Smooth


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