Ben Wolfe: My Kinda Beautiful (2006)
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
The liner notes to bassist/composer Ben Wolfe's My Kinda Beautiful refer to the record's "cinematic scape and the handiness of describing its music "in images. Many of the nineteen tracks do sound remarkably like they could accompany scenes from films, though they're not linked by a reference to a single dramatic arc. The result is a suite of less-than-satisfying filmic vignettes, each evoking the world that it will for an individual listener, but not connected and supporting each other in an integral whole. The album occupies the strange space of being incidental music without a drama to be incidental to.
My Kinda Beautiful is full of skilled arrangements for horns and strings, much as a film scorer makes use of a full orchestral palette to vary mood and atmosphere. Some of the conjured moods are fast-paced and urban, as on "Americano. "Through and Through evokes in this reviewer's mind an anxious nocturnal chase, while "The Doctor in December, the strongest piece on the album, is reflective and perhaps nostalgic.
Wolfe's full ensemble is sixteen strongeight jazz and eight classical playersand he is adept at arranging for the entire group or smaller units. "String Quartet is just that, with a very 20th Century feel, searching, dark and jagged. Trombonist Jeff Uusitalo stands out among the soloists for his effort on the otherwise indistinct "Wild West.
Track Listing: Intro; Through and Through; The Doctor in December; Interlude (Who's Blues); Americano; My Kinda Beautiful; F Minor (The Drive); String Quartet; Tune for T; Interlude (Bass); Stone; Wild West; You, Me, Them; Interlude (The Poet); Death; Three Like; The Many and the One; Americano; Outro.
Personnel: Ben Wolfe: bass; Ron Steen: drums; Steve Christofferson, piano; Ned Goold: tenor/alto
saxophone; Paul Mazio: trumpet/flugelhorn; Jeff Uusitalo: trombone; Stan Bock: trombone;
Dave Bryan: trombone; Margaret Bichetler: violin (Concertmaster); Janet Dubay: violin; Janet
George: violin; Kathleen Follett: violin; Shauna Keyes: viola; Brenda Liu: viola; Pansy Chang:
cello; Dieter Ratzlaf: cello; Phil Hanson: cello (3).
Record Label: Planet Arts