All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

Andy Jaffe Nonet +4: Arc

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
It is difficult to get past the opening, and title track, to Andy Jaffe's Nonet recording Arc. The reason being, it is a flawless piece of music as it is written, arranged and performed. There is just something about this little waltz that is cinematic, in both the sense that it feels like the soundtrack to a classic film and that it also projects a narrative in the mind. Jaffe weaves the Taiwanese Interestring Quartet into the seamless piece, but more about that later.

Could the remainder of the recording of the recording maintain the same level?

Jaffe, a pianist, composer, and educator has co-led the Bill Lowe-Andy Jaffe Repertory Big Band for decades now. His previous Playscape release was Mahattan Projections (2001), which was a re-release of a 1984 session with his former pupils, Branford Marsalis, Wallace Roney, and Marvin "Smitty" Smith.

Roney returns here alongside heavyweight saxophonist Jimmy Greene. Many listeners may be drawn by the two players, but both surrender any grandstanding in service to Jaffe and the music. Besides, the solos provided by fellow saxophonists Tom Olin, and Kris Allen are also quite exceptional.

The punch of "Brainworn" recalls those early 1960s Blue Note sessions where Alfred Lion was pleased when his artists inserted a swinging blues into a recording date. Jaffe includes two pieces he wrote for Max Roach's Double Quartet in the early 1980s. "Steve Biko," for the anti-apartheid activist and "Theme for the New Sixties. " Both pieces integrate a string quartet, not as an add-on, but a congruent piece of Jaffe's musical geometry. Both pieces maintain a forward momentum, with the string quartet ushered by bassist Marty Jaffe, and bass clarinetist Bruce Williamson.

Jaffe borrows a fragment of Duke Ellington's "Fleurette Africaine" to build his "Fleurette Chinoise," and arranges a carpet of nonet flourish as background to the soloists. "Go Down Moses," arranged for the saxophone quartet of Bruce Williamson soprano, Tom Olin baritone, Kris Allen alto, and Jimmy Greene switching to tenor, reveals just how lithe and graceful a sax quartet can be. Jaffe's arrangement takes on the heavy music with a sound light as a feather.

Track Listing: Arc; Brainworm; Steve Biko; In Case this is Goodbye; Fear of the Dark (miedo a la obscuridad); Fleurette Chinoise; Go Down Moses; Theme for the New Sixties; Now Then

Personnel: Andy Jaffe: piano; Wallace Roney: trumpet; John Clark: french horn; Kris Allen: alto saxophone; Jimmy Greene: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Bruce Williamson: bass clarine, soprano saxophone; Tom Olin: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, baritone saxophone; Marty Jaffe: bass; Jonathan Barber: drums; Wei- Jun Huang: 1st violin; Wei-Hsin Liu: 2nd violin; Chiee Yeh: viola; Jiro Yeh: cello.

Title: Arc | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Playscape Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Arc by Mark Corroto
Read more articles
Arc

Arc

Playscape Recordings
2016

buy

Related Articles

Read Dirt...And More Dirt CD/LP/Track Review
Dirt...And More Dirt
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Locked & Loaded CD/LP/Track Review
Locked & Loaded
by John Kelman
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Long Story Short CD/LP/Track Review
Long Story Short
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Awase CD/LP/Track Review
Awase
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 26, 2018
Read Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich CD/LP/Track Review
Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich
by John Sharpe
Published: May 26, 2018
Read My Singing Fingers CD/LP/Track Review
My Singing Fingers
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2018
Read "Just Funkin' Around" CD/LP/Track Review Just Funkin' Around
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 5, 2017
Read "Serenade for Horace" CD/LP/Track Review Serenade for Horace
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: October 11, 2017
Read "Stratus" CD/LP/Track Review Stratus
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "Sun Ra Plays Gershwin" CD/LP/Track Review Sun Ra Plays Gershwin
by Chris May
Published: March 12, 2018
Read "Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson" CD/LP/Track Review Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Shades Of Life" CD/LP/Track Review Shades Of Life
by James Nadal
Published: July 18, 2017