Greg Diaz & The Art of Imagination Jazz Orchestra: Begin the AgoraBy
The swing component rushes to the fore straightaway on guitarist Kevin Eubanks' "The Navigator," whose engaging melody is underscored by muscular ensemble work and bright solos by guitarist Christian Davis, pianist Eero Turunen and Diaz, on tenor sax. The brass are prominent on Diaz's waltz-like "Circadia," prefacing earnest statements by Davis and Diaz, before the ensemble takes a sharp turn southward toward New Orleans with a charming medley of "Brother John," "Second Line Strut" and "Iko Iko," on which Diaz sings, after a fashion, with unnamed backup support while Davis, Turunen, tenor Scott Klarman, alto Ismael Vergara, trumpet Doug Michels and baritone Mike Brignola parcel out the solo space, Crescent City-style.
Diaz's "Frank Blank," dedicated to Frank Perrotta, is another flag-waver in the Basie / Herman manner, on which trumpeters Seth Merlin and Kevin Wilder , trombonist Russell freeland and alto Manny Echazabal shine while drummer Matt Calderin ushers in the postlude with his finest Buddy Rich impression. "Begin the Agora" (in no way to be confused with Cole Porter) swings hard from start to finish, underlined by Calderin's assertive timekeeping, Diaz's clever chart and crisp solos by Klarman, Davis, Turunen (on electric piano) and Diaz, whose expressive tenor presages the forceful climax.
Aside from the album's slender 37-minute playing time, there is nothing here to reprove. In sum, a strong and eloquent (albeit concise) debut.
The Navigator; Circadia; Brother John / 2nd Line Strut / Iko Iko; Frank Blank; Begin the Agora.
Greg Diaz: leader, arranger, tenor sax, clarinet, lead vocal; Jesus Mato: trumpet; Doug Michels: trumpet; Seth Merlin: trumpet; Kevin Wilde: trumpet; Ismael Vergara: alto sax, clarinet; Manny Echazabal: alto sax, clarinet; Scott Klarman: tenor sax; Mike Brignola: baritone sax; Russell Freeland: trombone; Jason Pyle: trombone; Tom Warfel: trombone; Michael Nunez: bass trombone; Eero Turunen: keyboards; Christian Davis: guitar; James McCoy: acoustic, electric bass; Matt Calderin: drums, percussion.
Title: Begin the Agora | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Self Produced
Post a comment about this album
FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZAll About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELPTo expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.
About George Gershwin
Instrument: Composer/conductorArticle Coverage | Albums | Photos | Similar Artists