The art of effective music composition should combine the vision and execution of the composer and artist, with some regard for the listening audience. Ben Adams Sextet's Music for Six features some beautiful and complex compositions by modern composer Todd Brindley Hershberger. Hershberger and Adams, both longtime friends and colleagues from Kansas, collaborated to create a project that successfully blends jazz and chamber music.
To give a little insight into the dual influences, consider this:
Adams is a talented vibraphonist who began his musical journey with the piano and then switched to drums and percussion, displays real depth and range in his playing. A protege of renowned jazz vibraphonist Dave Samuels, his knowledge and skills are intact. His chops are soulful and his touch contains just the right sensitivity. Good jazz vibists are rare, and Adams is a real find.
Composer Herschberger received his Bachelor's in music from the University of Kansas and is currently pursuing his PhD in musical composition at Duke University. He has composed music for orchestra, mixed chorus, chamber ensembles, and solo instruments. His influences rage from Shoenberg to Mingus. Herschberger is a modern composer for an always evolving music.
Together the music is realized with composer, artist, and instrument.
The five other instruments along with the vibraphone include the violin, guitar, cello, double-bass, and drums. The seven compositions display richness in its delivery with robust sounds and skilled playing from each musician. Music for Six opens with the tranquil and dreamlike selection "sextet number one" that builds to a strong crescendo. The other selections give ample room for each musician to showcase each instrument's unique voice. The inclusion of strings with the cello and violin gives the music an atmospheric quality. The guitar solos add the modern element of jazz Fusion. It's all held together with excellent rhythm work by the double-bass and drums. The music seems to convey a musical narrative where each selection is a chapter with a unique setting. At times the mood is serenely contemplative but there are also strong expressions of Swing and Free jazz. There are four 'sextet' selections, two interludes, and one postlude. With exceptional musicianship and solos from all the artists; Music for Six is a modern work of composed jazz music that works.
Personnel: Ben Adams: vibraphone; Mads Tolling: violin; Bryan Leitch: guitar; Rushad Eggleston: cello; Jeff Denson: double-bass;
Ziv Ravitz: drums.