All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

4

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: Beauty And The Beast feat. Bill Evans

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, SNJO, under the leadership of saxophonist Tommy Smith, has proven itself to be one of the premier large ensemble outfits out there. They have released a series of uniformly excellent recording, beginning with 2002's Miles Ahead, featuring Ingrid Jensen, a remake of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans gem; an expansive take on Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue; a big tip of the hat to Duke Ellington with In the Spirit Of Duke, all of these on Spartacus Records; and a celebration of Norwegian bassist Arild Andersen's artistry on Celebration (ECM Records, 2011).

The year 2017 brings from SNJO Beauty And The Beast, a high-energy suite that Tommy Smith wrote for saxophonist Dave Liebman, a man whose musical approach veers into the beastial side of sound, and also embraces an idiosyncratic, off-kilter beauty.

But it's not Liebman here; it's saxophonist Bill Evans, the early 1980s Miles Davis sideman who played on We Want Miles (1981); The Man With The Horn (1982); Star People (1983); and Decoy (1984), all on Columbia Records.

Listening to Evans on his Davis contributions won't prepare you for this experience. Immersed in an the oceanic, impassioned majesty of the SNJO at its most fearsome, the saxophonist rips and roars on tenor, screams and wails on soprano, and also settles into moments of (almost) tender reverie. The ensemble creates a dense sound. Credit the inclusion of Andy McCreel's tuba, and electric bassist Kevin Glasgow's beefy grooves, drummer Alyn Cosker's muscular percussion. On the beauty/beast scale, the beast here is the more dominant. "Part 7" of this seven part suite, with Evans on soprano, leans to the "beauty side," but it's a assertive beauty, featuring an arrangement of comparatively restrained grandeur.

Beauty and the Beast was recorded live, with all the strengths that mode offers—the vim and vigor, the freshness and vitality—and none of the potential weakness. And Bill Evans is on top of his game, inspired, no doubt, by this top notch orchestra blowing in its "take no prisoners" fashion.

Track Listing: Part 1 [6:15] Part 2 [9:24] Part 3 [9:35] Part 4 [8:12] Part 5 [3:40] Part 6 [5:29] Part 7 [9:41]

Personnel: Music composed & orchestrated by Tommy Smith Commissioned by the SNJO with support from Creative Scotland Mixed and mastered by Jan Erik Kongshaug Rainbow Studios, Oslo, Oct 2015 Recorded by Mark McKellen Caird Hall, Dundee, 22 May 2011 Cover Art by Bill Evans Orchestra Manager Lindsay Robertson Photography by Colin Robertson Design by Nadworks Produced by Tommy Smith Bill Evans - Soprano & Tenor Saxophone REEDS Martin Kershaw (Alto) Paul Towndrow (Alto) Tommy Smith (Tenor) Konrad Wiszniewski (Tenor) Bill Fleming (Baritone) TRUMPETS Ryan Quigley Ewan Mains Tom MacNiven Lorne Cowieson TROMBONES Chris Greive Kevin Garrity Michael Owers Lorna McDonald TUBA Andy McKreel RHYTHM SECTION Steve Hamilton (Piano) Kevin Glasgow (Electric Bass) Alyn Cosker (Drums)

Title: Beauty And The Beast feat. Bill Evans | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Spartacus Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Gegenschein CD/LP/Track Review
Gegenschein
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 15, 2018
Read Perception CD/LP/Track Review
Perception
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 15, 2018
Read DeiCont | Philips Collective CD/LP/Track Review
DeiCont | Philips Collective
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 15, 2018
Read Cooking Groove CD/LP/Track Review
Cooking Groove
by Jim Olin
Published: July 15, 2018
Read Heaven & Earth CD/LP/Track Review
Heaven & Earth
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 15, 2018
Read Heart Of Brazil CD/LP/Track Review
Heart Of Brazil
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 14, 2018
Read "Kanata" CD/LP/Track Review Kanata
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 5, 2018
Read "The Unrecorded Fox" CD/LP/Track Review The Unrecorded Fox
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 3, 2018
Read "Alive In The East?" CD/LP/Track Review Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read "Unloved" CD/LP/Track Review Unloved
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 12, 2017
Read "Intimate Ella - A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald" CD/LP/Track Review Intimate Ella - A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 2, 2018
Read "Those Were the Days" CD/LP/Track Review Those Were the Days
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: June 9, 2018