211

The Maria Schneider Orchestra: Allegresse

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
There are no liner notes in the booklet accompanying the latest release by the Maria Schneider Orchestra, but there are five candid close'ups of Schneider conducting, and another photograph on the front cover in which she is seen holding a white rose to her face. So exactly what is being promoted here? Leaving the rhetorical question unanswered, we should say that, as a whole, All'gresse, Schneider's third album for enja, represents her best recorded work to date. There are some weaknesses (almost nothing Schneider writes swings, and 'All'gresse' could be a synonym for 'ponderous' or in some cases 'wearisome'), but her compositions on this go'round are at least musically rich and frequently engaging, in spite of the tendency to drag them out until one's index finger almost unconsciously presses the CD player's 'next track' button ('Nocturne,' which drifts along for almost eight minutes, is the briefest selection; 'Dissolution,' at 20:47, the longest). Tempos are moderate ('Hang Gliding,' 'All'gresse,' 'Journey Home') to funereal ('Nocturne,' 'Dissolution,' 'Sea of Tranquility'). One thing Schneider has going for her is a world'class orchestra stocked with a number of outstanding soloists (flugel Greg Gisbert and tenor Rick Margitza on 'Hang Gliding,' pianist Frank Kimbrough on 'Nocturne,' trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and tenor Rich Perry on 'All'gresse,' soprano Tim Ries on 'Dissolution,' alto Charles Pillow and guitarist Ben Monder on 'Journey Home,' baritone Scott Robinson on 'Sea of Tranquility') who do their best to enliven every aspect of Schneider's protracted etudes. Another is the fact that her writing here is more accessible than on other occasions; there are lovely and enchanting melodies on All'gresse ('Hang Gliding' is a gem) and no unsettling dissonances whatsoever. This is 'chamber' ' we could even say 'classical' ' big'band Jazz whose emphasis is on beauty of form rather than outbursts of raw power. While such an approach is neither masculine nor femine, its most eloquent spokesperson at the moment happens to be a woman. When all is said and done, would I recommend All'gresse ? Without pause — but not to those who are looking for Basie-style fireworks including thunderous bombs from the drummer or screaming shout-choruses from the brass. This is music for the thinking person, which all but assures a limited market here in the States.

Contact:enja records, P.O. Box 19 03 33, D'80603, Munich, Germany. Web site, www.enjarecords.com; e'mail info@enjarecords.com


Track Listing: Hang Gliding; Nocturne; All?gresse; Dissolution; Journey Home; Sea of Tranquility (71:10).

Personnel: Maria Schneider, composer, conductor; Tim Ries, soprano sax, clarinet, flute, alto flute; Charles Pillow, alto, soprano sax, clarinet, flute, piccolo, oboe, English horn; Rich Perry, tenor sax, flute; Rick Margitza, tenor, soprano sax, flute; Scott Robinson, baritone, bass sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto flute; Tony Kadleck, trumpet, flugelhorn, piccolo trumpet; Greg Gisbert, Laurie Frink, Ingrid Jensen, Dave Ballou, trumpet, flugelhorn; Keith O?Quinn, Rock Ciccarone, Larry Farrell, trombone; George Flynn, bass trombone, tuba; Ben Monder, acoustic, electric guitar; Frank Kimbrough, piano; Tony Scherr, acoustic, electric bass; Tim Horner, drums; Jeff Ballard, percussion.

Title: Allegresse | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Enja Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Triple Double CD/LP/Track Review Triple Double
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Agrima CD/LP/Track Review Agrima
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 21, 2017
Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read "A Night Walking Through Mirrors" CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Jazz Flute Traditions" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Flute Traditions
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Ranky Tanky" CD/LP/Track Review Ranky Tanky
by James Nadal
Published: August 13, 2017
Read "Gratitude" CD/LP/Track Review Gratitude
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "With You In Mind" CD/LP/Track Review With You In Mind
by Doug Collette
Published: July 26, 2017
Read "Incidentals" CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.