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Remy Le Boeuf: Architecture of Storms

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Remy Le Boeuf: Architecture of Storms
It's hard to become bored or complacent when listening to Architecture of Storms, alto saxophonist Remy Le Boeuf's second album as leader of the twenty-member Assembly of Shadows orchestra. Every song is quite different from the others, and every one has its moments of shapeliness and charm.

Le Boeuf arranged every number and composed all but Justin Vernon's "Minnesota, WI" and the album's nameplate, which he co-wrote with poet Sara Pirkle, he asserts, "on a brooding stormy day in Connecticut." Le Boeuf uses every melodic, harmonic and rhythmic device at his disposal to make the orchestra shine, a talent that is perhaps most visible on "Secondhand Smile," a harmonic masterwork wherein everyone excels, or the closing "Rumpus," an old-school swinger whose tantalizing groove is underscored by Le Boeuf's audacious alto and Martha Kato's expressive piano.

Le Boeuf enters the same way, blowing with power and abandon on "Neener Neener," a rhythmic twister on which the ensemble shows its mettle, pressing earnestly onward to a vehement and emphatic climax. After a peaceful opening stanza, "Minnesota, WI" gathers momentum and fire behind a sharp solo by trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, after which "Architecture of Storms," the album's lone vocal number, seldom entices the ear, impeded by a forgettable lyric and guest Julia Easterlin's soft, unimposing voice.

The orchestra bounces back nicely on the spry and colorful "Face Value," whose engaging solos are delivered by guest tenor Dayna Stephens and trombonist Sam Blakeslee, and the lovely ballad "Union" (with equally lovely passages for the ensemble), written by Le Boeuf to celebrate his sister's wedding. "Sibbian," another radiant showcase for brass and reeds encasing warm solos by Kato and flugel Matt Holman, leads to "Secondhand Smile," the luminous "Bring Me There" (splendid solos courtesy of Kato and trombonist Natalie Cressman) and "Rumpus."

Le Boeuf's impressive charts would bring out the best in any orchestra, and his Assembly of Shadows handles them with enthusiasm and assurance. A generally smooth and pleasurable ride with one slight bump in the road.

Track Listing

Neener Neener; Minnesota, Wi.; The Melancholy Architecture of Storms; Face Value; Union; Sibbian; Secondhand Smile; Bring Me There; Rumpus.

Personnel

Remy Le Boeuf
saxophone, alto
John Lake
trumpet
Matt Holman
trumpet
Dave Adewumi
trumpet
Mike Fahie
trombone
Eric Miller
trombone
Sam Blakeslee
trombone
Javier Nero
trombone
Isaac Kaplan
trombone
Jennifer Wharton
trombone, bass
Horace Bray
guitar
Ben Kono
saxophone
James Shipp
percussion
Additional Instrumentation

Gregory Robbins: conductor; Vito Chiavuzzo, Lucas Pino, John Lowery, Carl Maraghi, Anna Webber, Dayna Stephens: woodwinds; Seneca Black, Tony Giausi: trumpets; Joe Saylor: percussion.

Album information

Title: Architecture of Storms | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Soundspore Records


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