Jim Hobbs & The Fully Celebrated Orchestra: Lapis Exilis (2005)
On Lapis Exilis the group presents nine songs that cover a vibrant range of possibilities. The compositions, all written by the group's leader, 37-year-old alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, are brilliant in execution, unfolding and unraveling with assertion and charm. The group of cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, bassist Timo Shanko (last year's excellent Freedom Right Now), and drummer Django Carranza meets the composer's challenge with appropriate zest; they are soft and lush when pensive, strong and brash when excited.
Songs like the Indian-derived "Lord of Creatures," "Lapis Exilis," and the almost mariachi-like "Farewell" come gently, while "Throne of Osiris," "The Mackie Burnette," and "Billylillylillybilly" are jagged, angled, and wild. As the album progresses, the group's ability to play lucid melodies in either the inside or outside traditions of jazz is remarkable, fun and accessible. These players never lose the listener in abstractions or oddities that might scare and/or intimidate. Lapis Exilis is truly an adventure, a wonderful view into the possibilities and promises of jazz.
Track Listing: Lord of Creatures; Throne of Osiris; Ol Lady Who?; The Mackie Burnette; Apple Orchard and the Worm; Three Rivers; Billylillylillybilly; Lapis Elixis; Farewell.
Personnel: Jim Hobbs: alto sax; Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet; Timo Shanko: bass; Django Carranza: drums.
Record Label: Skycap Records
Style: Modern Jazz