Remy Le Boeuf's Assembly Of Shadows, an ambitious jazz orchestra recording, opens with his original composition, the cinematic "Strata," followed by a majestic take on alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman's "Honeymooners," a tune from the free jazz pioneer's Virgin Beauty (Portrait Records, 1988). These soundscollectively clocking in at fifteen and a half minutesset the stage for the five-part "Assembly Of Shadows Suite." Saxophonist Le Bouef considered the voices in his orchestra for the purposes of highlighting the individual musical personalities, a mode of operation common to the greats, past and presentDuke Ellington, Count Basie, Gil Evans, and Maria Schneider, to whom the composer-arranger seems particularly indebted via his use of sweeping vistas and translucent harmonies.
The "Assembly Of Shadows Suite" tells the story of a child lost in the forest who falls asleep beneath the trees, to awaken to visions of dancing shadows that have come to life. Kind shadows and scary shadows teach the child things about herself, then guide her home at moonset to her own bed, where she awakens, uncertain about the reality of her experienceperhaps it was just a dream. The fairytale-like tale is compelling; so is the soundtrack.
The music has a floating-outside-of-time and an ignoring-the-force-of-gravity vibelike shadows. Le Beouf arranges masterfully. "Transfiguration," Part IV of the suite, ebbs and flows. The leader's sweet-toned alto sax sits in for playful innocence and beauty; Carl Maraghi's growling baritone sax takes the part of malice, in a dialogue that culminates in the serene sparkle of Martha Kato's pianogoodness and innocence winning.
"A Light Through the Tunnel" closes the suite on a tranquil note, with a beautifully-intricate piano solo by Kato, followed by Tony Glausi's placid-yet-passionate trumpet turn immersed in the sumptuous subtleties of the orchestra.
Strata; Honeymooners; Assembly of Shadows Suite: I. Introduction; II. Assembly of Shadows; III. Shapeless Dancer; IV. Transfiguration; V. Light Through the Leaves.
Gregory Robbins: conductor; Remy Le Boeuf: soprano sax, flute, alto flute; Vito Chiavuzzo: alto sax; John Lowery: clarinet; Carl Maraghi: bass clarinet; Nick Depinna: additional overdubs.
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