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Frank Macchia with The Prague Orchestra: Landscapes (2008)

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Frank Macchia with The Prague Orchestra: Landscapes How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

A follow-up to composer/arranger/saxophonist Frank Macchia's critically acclaimed Emotions (Cacophony, 2006), which received a Grammy nomination for "Best Arrangement ("Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair ), Landscapes is the second part of an extended session of symphonic music cleverly diced with strong jazzy overtones. As with the first album, Macchia employs the string-laden Prague Orchestra, under the direction of Adam Klemens, to provide lush arrangements that feature the soft tenor saxophone voice without a conventional rhythm section.

Spending the last fifteen years in Los Angeles orchestrating and composing for movies, and specifically writing for strings, woodwinds and harps in place of the standard piano rhythm section, Macchia utilizes those skills on this concept recording. On Landscapes the saxophonist pens his version of six folk songs and standards around the six-part centerpiece of the album, "Landscape Suite—for Saxophone & Orchestra, that feature solid tenor solos fronting a string symphony.

The music takes off with a re-harmonized and string-heavy rendition of "The Sidewalks Of New York, followed by the softer "Shenandoah and "Down In The Valley, in which Macchia solos brilliantly. From here the music turns to the six-part suite for saxophone and orchestra, the main theme of the recording.

With titles such as "Golden Fields, "Desert Heat, "Arctic Chill and "Forrest Twilight, each part of the suite is designed to convey a different feeling and emotion. Whether it's the loneliness and isolation of "Arctic Chill or a stream-of-consciousness as is supposed to be imagined on "River Rapids, the music is meant to be thought-provoking, and not just relaxing.

Landscapes is an encore performance that continues the musical exploration Macchia began with Emotions.. Contributing innovative arrangements, Macchia wraps the jazzy sounds of the tenor saxophone with a blanket of lush orchestral music to produce a unique classical jazz project.

Track Listing: The Sidewalks of New York; Shenandoah; Down In The Valley; Landscapes Suite - for Saxophone & Orchestra: I.Golden Fields, II.Desert Heat, III.River Rapids, IV.Arctic Chill, V.Jungle Life, VI.Forest Twilight; Deep River; Avalon; Way Down Yonder In New Orleans.

Personnel: Frank Macchia: composer, tenor saxophone; The Prague Orchestra: Adam Klemens: conductor; orchestra personnel unlisted.

Record Label: Cacophony

Style: Classical


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