Those who like Debussy's Nocturnes will love what this trio does on the crossover Van Gogh Letters. Three master musicians venture into saxophonist Charles Pillow's softly articulated, impressionistic/minimalist tone poems. Inspired by Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, Pillow translates the great artist's phrases and sentences into painterly sounds evocative of a quieter, less-pressured epoch. The trio embarks on a journey through the varied places and moods that the gentle, saintly, and troubled Van Gogh saw and painted with intense beauty and emotion. French musical impressionism, which evolved contemporaneously with Van Gogh's art, was the genre that suggested the pentatonic scale ...read more
Charles Pillow is a musician's musician who works with diverse ensembles from jazz to pops to classical, small group to large ensemble, straight-ahead to avant-garde. He grew up in Baton Rouge, La., and studied music at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, before eventually settling in the New York City area as a working professional.He has worked with groups, vocalists, and leaders as varied as Dave Liebman, Michael Brecker, Jay Z, Broadway pit orchestras, Mariah Carey and Maria Schneider. He plays soprano and alto saxophone as well as flute, bass clarinet and alto flute. He is one ...read more
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Charles Pillow The PlanetsArtistShare2007 This review follows Charles Pillow: Part 1--Crossing the Divide between Jazz and Classical Repertoire, an introduction to the work of the reed player and composer, and Charles Pillow: Part 2--Pictures At An Exhibition (ArtistShare, 2005), a review of another Pillow disc. Gustav Mahler said that a symphony should form a universe. If not the universe, then fellow composer Gustav Holst decided at least to include our solar system in his orchestral suite The ...read more
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 Charles PillowPictures At An ExhibitionArtistShare2005 This review follows Charles Pillow: Part 1--Crossing the Divide between Jazz and Classical Repertoire, introducing the reed player and composer's work, and is followed by Charles Pillow: Part 3--The Planets a review of a second Pillow disc, The Planets (Artist Share, 2007). Pictures at an Exhibition, made in 2003 but not released until two years later, more clearly evokes the moods and images of Mussorgsky's original than does The Planets mirror Gustav Holst. In ...read more
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 While jazz began as a form of entertainment, it has evolved into a more serious musical genre. Its multiple roots in gospel, blues, popular, folk, Caribbean, African, and other world musics give it a complexity and richness tailor-made for extended musical explorations and through-composing. In addition, jazz musicians have made use of the music of Debussy, Stravinsky, Milhaud, Bartok and other classical composers as they search for new ways to convey ideas, emotions, and images.Nearly all the jazz we listen to, however, remains based on either 12-bar ... read more
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