Peter Apfelbaum & The New York Hieroglyphics: It Is Written (2005)

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Peter Apfelbaum & The New York Hieroglyphics: It Is Written
Composer and woodwind/keyboard/percussion multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum advocates "music without borders and says he writes from "a drummer's perspective. Familiar soundposts are absent and It Is Written, the latest recording of his Hieroglyphics band, requiring a shift in the listener's preconceptions of big band possibilities.

For instance, "Prelude is a brief, dirge-like opening in which Jai Uttal's harmonium plays a dominant role. Have I wandered into a rather sad occasion?, one may wonder. "Labile (Unfolding) follows, the mood still somewhat somber, albeit beginning to shimmer with lots of brass and a distinct piano sound punctuated by drum commas.

Guitars (Viva de Concini, David Phelps) gently lead into passage in which a brass quartet (Apfelbaum, Josh Roseman, Jessica Jones, Tony Jones) heats up and adds colors in "Rainbow Sign. Perhaps these sounds suggest this is actually a Brazilian party? Wordless vocalizing (Abdul Diabate) is followed by warm solo toots which lead the full band into building a mounting sense of excitement which begs for dancing.

As the set continues, rather than providing melodies in the traditional mode, the multicultural music evolves into a forceful, kinetic entity—a block of sound in movement. Mixing elements of blues, reggae, and classical, the pieces fit together harmoniously. The results feel like songs which invite greater familiarity.

Track Listing: Prelude; Labile (Unfolding); Rainbow Sign; Apparition/Projectiles; Song of the Signs; Petroglyph Extension; Shotgun Bouquet; It Is Written; Titiwa.

Personnel: Peter Apfelbaum: woodwinds, keyboards, percussion; Peck Allmond: trumpet, woodwinds; Josh Roseman: trombone; Jessica Jones: alto and tenor saxophone; Tony Jones: tenor saxophone; Norbert Stachel: woodwinds; Craig Handy: alto sax; Steven Bernstein: slide trumpet; Jeff Cressman: trombone; Natalie Cressman: trombone; Charles Burnham: violin; Juliana Cressman: violin; David Phelps: guitar; Viva De Concini: guitar; Will Bernard: guitar; Trey Anastasio: guitar; Jai Uttal: guitar, harmonium, vocal; Patrice Blanchard: bass; John Shifflett: bass; Abdoulaye Diabate: vocal; Dafnis Prieto: drums, percussion; Cyro Baptista: percussion; Josh Jones: bata drums, percussion; David Frazier: bata drums; Aaron Johnston: drums; Deszon X. Claiborne: drums.

Record Label: ACT Music

Style: Beyond Jazz


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