How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
There's nothing quite like hearing a big band in person to partake of all the vibes in the room. But Live at the Jazz Gallery will give large ensemble fans a great sampling of what the distinctive and highly enjoyable Jason Lindner Big Band can offer. Lindner and his talented crew flawlessly present a menu of mostly his own music that is eminently accessible but also possessing enough pizzazz, layers of ingenuity (incorporating Latin and Middle-Eastern accents), both robust and subdued rhythms, innovations and even cheek (the engaging vocal track that closes disc two, featuring the gritty-voiced Jay Collins) to please listeners with demanding tastes.
There's too much satisfying music to discuss individual pieces effectively but suffice to say that this band adds up to much more than the sum of its partsand those parts are fantastic. Can you ask for better trumpeting than Duane Eubanks' opening volley on "Suheir," shot through with the amazing stick work of drummer Eric McPherson? Lindner on Baldwin piano and Nord electric 2 keyboard (whether you've heard him before, or not) is a revelation. And some of the very finest younger brass and reeds in the business are featured: Miguel Zenon (alto), Collins (tenor, soprano and flute), Chris Karlic (baritone and bass clarinet) and Anat Cohen (tenor and clarinet), with brother Avishai Cohen on superb trumpet in addition to Eubanks. And one can't leave out the dynamic bones, the boundary pushing Joe Fiedler, astute Rafi Malkiel and assured Dana Leong. Omer Avital on bass is an empowering presence and let's not forget Yosvany Terry Cabrera on chekere.
Got all that?
Track Listing: CD1: Intro: Song for Jason; Suheir; Rumors; Inbal; Song for Amos. CD2: Freak of Nature; Life Light; The 5 Elements and the Natural Trinity; Poem for You Today.
Personnel: Jason Lindner: Baldwin piano and Nord electric 2 keyboard; Omer Avital: acoustic double bass; Eric McPherson: drums; Miguel Zenon on alto saxophone; Jay Collins: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, vocals ((9); Chris Karlic: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Anat Cohen: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Duane Eubanks: trumpet; Avishai Cohen: trumpet; Joe Fiedler: trombone; Dana Leong: trombone (2,3,4,8); Rafi Malkiel: trombone (1,5,6,7,9); Yosvany Terry Cabrera on chekere (8).