Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

39

Humber Studio Jazz Ensemble: Another Parallel Reality

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
The pundits who regularly question the vital signs of jazz would be well served to turn their ears toward the Humber Studio Jazz Ensemble. Almost two-dozen albums into a constantly evolving presence, Denny Christianson, the Director of Toronto's Humber Music Program, has been mentoring young musicians through their persistent reinventing of sound and process. The combined passion for the music and an expert knowledge of the form have created an experience that is keeping modern big band music alive, healthy and growing. The twenty-one piece ensemble features some of Humber's School of Creative and Performing Arts most distinctive young jazz players on Another Parallel Reality.

Each year the Humber Music Program recruits a marquee jazz artist for a brief residency during which the artist, faculty and students work on the selection of pieces, writing of charts, and rehearsals, all culminating in a live concert. In the case of Another Parallel Reality the title is a very slight spin on a collection from this event's resident, drummer Jack DeJohnette. He joins the ranks of pianist Danilo Pérez, bassist Dave Holland, saxophonists Michael Brecker and Chris Potter and trumpeter Dave Douglas who, among others, have participated in the Humber program.

Of the ten pieces on Another Parallel Reality, DeJohnette penned six and co-wrote another with guitar icon Pat Metheny. The arrangements are implemented by various members of the Humber faculty. "Jack In" is the imposing opener which features fine solos from pianist James Hill, Christian Brown on tenor sax, and trombonist Brad Gilchtist. The more avant-garde "New Muse" has a snake-like quality to its movement with added tension in the quietly menacing sounds of Chris Rennie's tenor sax and Josh Hung's trumpet. "Indigo Dreamscapes" appropriately floats on the ethereal wordless vocals of Lydia Persaud and Chynna Lewis before it eventually drifts into a slightly off-kilter conclusion. These same two vocalists shine on the Duke Ellington classic "Do Nothin' Til You Hear From Me." Persaud and Lewis' stellar performance of the difficult scat technique is so satisfying that it would have made Ella Fitzgerald take notice. Latin rhythms take over on "Nine Over Reggae," the DeJohnette/Metheny composition from Parallel Realities (MCA Records, 2004). Guitarist Sam Dickenson supplies a fine solo that is a bit more rock oriented than the Metheny original.

The atmospheric rhythms on Another Parallel Reality, may be set in the big band era but the ensemble plays to the present, opening up harmonies and improvisations. Where more conventional scoring is utilized, it presents a perfect showcase for the eye-opening performances of Persaud and Lewis. On Another Parallel Reality Christianson is careful in not possessing the sense of space common to so much contemporary big band music. The Humber arrangements place just the right amount of examination on each of the pieces so that style and technique are not being over analyzed to the detriment of the performances. Another Parallel Reality is an impressive album and Christianson has fused the many individual talents of the Humber Studio Jazz Ensemble into a tight and precise unit who happen to be a lot of fun to listen to.

Track Listing: Jack In; New Muse; Indigo Dreamscapes; Do Nothin’ Til You Hear From Me; Nine Over Reggae; Exotic Isles; You Can Have It; Ebony; Salsa For Eddie G; We’ll Be Together Again.

Personnel: Andrew Racknor: saxophone, flute; Liam Masil-Mitro: saxophone, flute; Christian Brown: saxophone, flute, clarinet; Chris Rennie: saxophone, clarinet; Zach Mills: saxophone, clarinet; Rob Laird: trumpet; Shawn Robson: trumpet; Ania Zarzycki: trumpet; Sean White: trumpet; Josh Hung: trumpet; PJ Andersson: trombone; Devin Chubb: trombone; Brad Gilchrist: trombone; Nicholas Sieber: trombone; James Hill: piano; Sam Dickinson: guitar; Julian Anderson-Bowes: bass; Matthew Chalmers: drums, vibes; Juan Carlos Medrano Magallanes: percussion; Lydia Persaud: vocals; Chynna Lewis: vocals.

Title: Another Parallel Reality | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2018
Read 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert CD/LP/Track Review 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Hybrido - From Rio to Wayne Shorter" CD/LP/Track Review Hybrido - From Rio to Wayne Shorter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Generations" CD/LP/Track Review Generations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Planetary Prince" CD/LP/Track Review Planetary Prince
by Christopher Hoard
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Unlimited" CD/LP/Track Review Unlimited
by Paul Rauch
Published: June 3, 2017
Read "Silent Light" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read "Peace and Love" CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: October 31, 2017