How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The compositions on Impulsive! are by Brazilian–bred Elias, the charts by Kansas City’s Bob Brookmeyer, and they — and the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra — form an impressively cosmopolitan team. Orchestrally speaking, Brookmeyer gets the most out of each of Elias’ half–dozen charming melodies, sketching them in bold and brilliant colors, while the DRJO plays them with its usual unruffled proficiency and flair. If the arrangements sound as though they’d been fashioned with the DRJO in mind, perhaps that’s because Brookmeyer was then (1997) its chief conductor, leaving that position the following year in the capable hands of pianist / composer Jim McNeely. Brookmeyer adds insouciantly swinging solos on “So in Love” and “The Time Is Now,” sharing honors with Elias whose perceptive improvisations enliven every number. Others who respond with alacrity when their name is called include trumpeter Henrik Bolberg Pedersen (“Moments”), bassist Thomas Ovesen and drummer Jonas Johansen (“The Time Is Now”), Ovesen again (the delightful ballad “One Side of You”), Johansen, percussionist Ethan Weisgard and tenors Tomas Franck and Uffe Markussen (“Impulsive!”). In spite of Elias’ Brazilian roots, the Latin influence predominates only on “The Time Is Now,” with the other selections planted firmly in the harmoniously rich soil of contemporary American big–band Jazz. Often, one’s most pleasant musical experiences are those that are the least expected, and Impulsive! certainly warrants such a description. One could of course wish for more solos by the aways engaging Brookmeyer, but short of that, not much could be done to improve upon the album as a whole (sound quality is topnotch, playing time adequate). As one who blushes to admit that he had heard Elias’ name but not her music, except in passing, I must confess that she now has at least one more ardent champion here in the States.
Contact:Stunt Records, 29 W. Maple Avenue, Bellmawr, NJ 08031 (phone 856–931–6441; fax 856–931–6445. Web site, www.sundance.dk)
Track Listing: Just Kiddin
Personnel: Eliane Elias, composer, piano; Bob Brookmeyer, conductor, arranger, valve trombone; Benny Rosenfeld, Jesper Riis, Palle Bolvig, Henrik Bolberg Pedersen, Jens Winther, trumpet, flugelhorn; Vincent Nilsson, Steen Hansen, trombone, baritone horn; Kjeld Ipsen, trombone; Klaus L