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Live Reviews

Alan Ferber Nonet Plus Strings at Jazz Gallery on December 16, 2010

By Published: December 26, 2010
The rest of his eight jazz companions were among a wide array of some of the best New York musicians currently working, whether or not they have earned their due notoriety. Alto saxophonist Jon Gordon
Jon Gordon
Jon Gordon

sax, alto
exhibited a beautiful tone and a smart soloing instinct, utilizing space and flowing development on a tune he wrote for the band, "Paradox." Trumpeter Scott Wendholt
Scott Wendholt
Scott Wendholt
b.1965
trumpet
chose the most bebop-informed solo style of all nine musicians, making swinging and linear sense of Ferber's adventurous writing. Bass clarinetist Doug Yates
Doug Yates
Doug Yates

sax, alto
demonstrated an incendiary concept, stretching in both directions from the "in but also out" style of players like Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
1928 - 1964
reeds
. Tenor saxophonist Andrew Rathbun
Andrew Rathbun
Andrew Rathbun

saxophone
soloed with a tempered, even sound, one that moved from simple lines to sheets of sound without losing its center of gravity. Bryn Roberts's piano breakdown in "Hyperballad" was an intriguing display of crystalline, pulsating piano clusters. On "Sedona," guitarist Nate Radley
Nate Radley

guitar
eschewed the overindulgence of most jazz guitarists, in pursuit of a soloing style that flowed with thematic movement and intent compositional logic. Matt Clohesy's bass solo on "Wildwood" was rich and earthy, making full use of his instrument's lower register. Drummer Ted Poor
Ted Poor
Ted Poor

drums
has established himself as formidable, highly musical drummer and continues to do so. His solo on "Paradox" showed off his extreme control of the drum set, conjuring up enormous batches of sound, stopping them like a cork in a bottle and then letting them flow out again.

The future of the large ensemble in jazz is tentative, to say the least. It's becoming increasingly impractical economically for some musicians to start or even maintain big bands. But should the big band model fade out completely—and, fortunately, that does not seem to be the case—there is still clearly room for innovation. Ferber's nonet with strings was a novel concept on paper and in the first stages of practice. However, when it got going and exhibited all it could do, it felt as obvious and natural as breathing.


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