Buddy Rich: In a Zone of His Own
Celestial music, wonderfully performed by Swedish musicians Anders Hagberg (flutes, soprano saxophone) and Johannes Landgren (organ), albeit far more akin to a Sunday morning church service than an evening at a jazz cluban impression that is underscored by an ample measure of reverb (the album may have been recorded in a church). The gossamer themes, drawn from a wide variety of sources, evoke images of towering cathedrals, worshipers with heads bowed in reverence, pilgrims praying at a hallowed shrine. The wind instruments are light and diaphanous, the organ played so softly at times as to be almost inaudible.
The jazz content, it should be noted, is minimal; while there may be impromptu blowing, it is all but impossible to discern unless one is familiar with the songs. Two themes, "The Glass Tree" and "When the Wood Speaks," are noted as free improvisations. For the most part, however, Hagberg plays the melody while Landgren provides a formal harmonic backdrop. Much of the music is liturgical in origin, embodying titles such as "The Blessed Day," "Now Comes the World's Saviour," "Temple Autumn," "Ah, That in Sin We Should Slumber In," "Kyrie," "Procession" and "O Christ, Who Art the Light and Day." Elsewhere, influences range from Pakistani music, ancient Georgian texts and Japanese Shakuhachi flute playing to Bronze Age archaeology, a sixth century Latin hymn and traditional Swedish folk songs.
The music, as noted, is charming, the performance near-flawless, the sound quality beyond reproach. On the other hand, it isn't jazz, at least not in the sense that we normally apply the term. Aimed at those who appreciate inspiring music freed from the annoyance of labels.
Tracks and Personnel
With Eddie Daniels
Tracks: Certified; Inner Lines; Hook or Crook?; Thad's Lament; Entre Nous; Where's Marty?; Elyeska; Cathel Brugha Blues.
Personnel: Steve Williams: leader, composer, arranger, alto sax, clarinet, flute; Brian MacDonald: trumpet; Liesl Whitaker: trumpet; Justin Kisor: trumpet; Tim Stanley: trumpet; Joe Henson: alto sax, clarinet, flute; Luis Hernandez: tenor sax, clarinet, flute; John DeSalme: tenor sax, clarinet, flute; Scott Silbert: baritone sax, bass clarinet, clarinet, piccolo; Jim McFalls: trombone; Jamey Way: trombone; Dave Perkel: trombone; Mark Morgan: bass trombone; Pete McCann: guitar; Harry Appelman: piano; Mike Pope: bass; Joe McCarthy: drums, percussion. Special guest artistEddie Daniels: tenor sax (2), clarinet (3), composer (2-4).
Tracks: Caravan; Round Midnight; The Change; Dawn Before Dark Before Dawn; Return Flight; Agro Alegria; Hush; Summer Sundays; Barbara; Lady Be Good; Feeling Good.
Personnel: Mark Armstrong: music director, trumpet (2); Louis Dowdeswell: trumpet, flugelhorn; Adam Chatterton: trumpet, flugelhorn; Nick Dewhurst: trumpet, flugelhorn; Tom Dennis: trumpet, flugelhorn; James Copus: trumpet, flugelhorn; Anna Drysdale: horn; Helen Wilson: flute, alto flute; Phil Meadows: alto, soprano sax, flute; Jim Gold: alto sax, clarinet; Nadim Teimoori: tenor sax; Riley Stone-Lonergan: tenor sax; Chris White: baritone sax, flute; Ross Anderson: trombone; Pete Whitehouse: trombone; Tom Green: trombone; Chris Valentine: trombone; Barry Clements: bass trombone; Chris Eldred: piano; Rob Luft: guitar; Conor Chaplin: bass (1, 4, 7, 8, 11); Joe Downard: bass (2, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10); Scott Chapman: drums (1-3, 5, 7-11); Felix Higginbottom: percussion; Emma Smith: vocals (8, 10). Guest artistsTim Garland: composer, arranger, tenor, soprano sax (2, 4, 6); Mark Mondesir: drums (4, 6).
Family Suite for Large Ensemble
Tracks: Dark Autumn (Movement I); The Prod / Sister Kim (Movements II & III); Four Shades of Darkness (Movement IV); Four Shades of Light (Movement V); Chorale / Martha (Movements VI & VII); Blues for Jerome (Movement VIII); I See Your Face Before Me / Thank You for the Life You Have Given Me (Movements IX & X); Dark Autumn: Reprise (Movement XI).
Personnel: Kirk MacDonald: leader, composer, alto, soprano sax; Terry Promane: arranger, trombone; Jason Logue: trumpet; Brian O'Kane: trumpet; Rob Smith: trumpet; Kevin Turcotte: trumpet; Joe Sullivan: trumpet; P.J. Perry: alto sax; Luis Deniz: alto, soprano sax; Pat LaBarbera: tenor sax; Perry White: baritone sax; Al Kay: trombone; Kelsley Grant: trombone; Collin Murray: trombone; Lorne Lofsky: guitar; Nancy Walker: piano; Neil Swainson: bass; Barry Romberg: drums.
Thank You, Fos!
Tracks: Thank You, Fos!; Shiny Stockings; Bring on the Raindrops; One Two Three; Love Handles; Lady Carolyn; Jorg on the Road; Ode to Joe Newman; Whirly Bird; Sina's Dream; Come On In; Papa Fos.