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by Ben Scholz
Fronted by an already well-established jny:Chicago area saxophonist, the Shawn Maxwell Alliance expands the concept of what a mixed ensemble can accomplish in the jazz realm. This debut album features a sprawling list of modern jazz composers and leaders including another jny:Chicago saxophonist, Chris Greene, vocalist Keri Johnsrud, vibraphonist Stephen Lynerd, and bassist Stacy McMichael. The group is augmented with a collection of featured players including guitarist Mitch Corso, double bassist Marc Piane, drummer Paul Townsend and Rachel Maxwell and ...read more
by Hrayr Attarian
Woodwind player and composer Shawn Maxwell's Shawn Maxwell's Alliance on the Chicago Sessions label is a carefully orchestrated suite with a subtle yet distinct dramatic sense. Although the description in the liner notes makes mention of a group of friends experimenting with new styles and sounds the disc is not a blowing date nor it is meant to be one. The fantastical Iynes Crayons" opens with a stately, almost baroque theatricality as French horn players Rachel Maxwell and ...read more
by Dan Bilawsky
In the liner notes for Shawn Maxwell's Alliance, the Chicago-based multi-reedist is transparent as can be. He makes note of the fact that this project was born out of a conscious desire to do something different and pull away from the commonplace quartet and quintet formats that are so prevalent today. He also notes that he initially had no intention of recording this group, and that some of these numbers are sketches," not fully fleshed out compositions. ...read more