Orkestar Zirkonium: Orkestar Zirkonium (2008)
Things kick off with a literal hand-clapper entitled "Heavy the Foreign Land" that immediately showcases the hot polyrhythmic intertwines of percussionists Paul Kikuchi and Sari Breznau, bass drummer Anne Mathews and drummer Matt Manges. Zirkonium has a big full sound thanks, in large part, to Jerry Neufield-Kaiser's pumping tuba which sets a frenetic pace on the burning "Hot Coals," also featuring a slick clarinet solo from Kevin Hinshaw. A decidedly nasty trumpet section (Stephen Lohrentz, Ted Lockery and Samantha Boshnack) combine for great voicings that evince more than a hint of Eastern-European ethos while at times Latin, Spanish and jazz seep through for a great multi-ethnic stew. Such is the case on "The Mimbo" where Serbian and Latin brass find common ground against a pulsating beat, and the frenetic "Rusasca De La Buzdug" nearly careens out of controlbut somehow stays on trackfor a wild brass infested excursion.
While many of these cuts start out fast and get quicker there is a soft, almost elegant side to the band as well. This is expressed most obviously in the delightful new music composed by trombonist Colin Ernst: the beautifully meandering "Guillotine" slowly snakes to its inevitable swift conclusion, "A New Light" has a stately klezmer-esque feel and the emotive pathos of "The Purge" is portrayed as a classically injected Spanish symphony. A hidden cut is the perfect denouement as all solemnly reflect on what was one hell of a great ride.
This is great "tukhes" shaking music with a depth of composition and style that keeps it from becoming cartoonishOrkestar Zirkonium is the real deal.
Track Listing: Heavy the Foreign Land; Hot Coals; Solo Tapan; Bury Your Dead; Mimbo; Rusasca de la Buzdug; Guillotine; A New Light; Aase Hechchagide; Zece Prajini; The Purge; Nekemtenemmutogatol Oro; Hidden Cut.
Personnel: Stephen Lohrentz: trumpet; Ted Lockery: trumpet; Samantha Boshnack: trumpet; Ivan Molton: alto saxophone; Kevin Hinshaw: clarinet; Whitney Neufeld-Kaiser: alto horn; Colin Ernst: trombone; Jeff Walker: trombone; Donn Cave: baritone saxophone, tuba; Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser: tuba; Matt Manges: drums; Sari Breznau: percussion; Anne Mathews: bass drum; Paul Kikuchi, percussion.
Record Label: Self Produced