4

Colossus: Colossus

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Colossus is the name of the album and the band, a seventeen- piece ensemble formed in 2012, comprised of present and former students at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, and co-led by trumpeter Dave Chisholm, trombonist Mike Conrad and saxophonist Levi Saelua. While the music is decidedly contemporary, its essential components—melody, harmony, rhythm, improvisation—are the same as those that have defined jazz from its inception. In other words, it is modern with almost none of the sometimes unpleasant side effects. Read that as you may.

The album opens with Conrad's "West Point," an agreeable mid-tempo salute to the Army that earned first prize at the Jazz Knights Composers Forum in 2012. After an engaging introduction by brass, reeds and rhythm, the theme lopes easily along behind earnest solos by tenor saxophonist Marc Abrate and guitarist Gabe Condon, leading to a definitive last chord by pianist Jacob Dupre. Conrad also wrote "Mild, Mild Midwest," a smooth-flowing theme commissioned and premiered by the NY Youth Symphony in 2012 on which he shares blowing space with tenor Erik Stabnau and drummer Jeff Krol.

For his part, Chisholm wrote the seductive "Science Adventure," wherein his agile trumpet shines with trombonist Alistair Duncan, and arranged the dirge-like hymn "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" (showcasing Saelua's soprano sax), which rings down the curtain. Saelua arranged the other numbers, Clay Jenkins' murky "Up and Up" and Joe Kozlowski's urbane "Little Vikings," the first featuring trumpeter Reid Poole and alto Alexa Tarantino, the second, pianist Dupre and trumpeter Kozlowski. Brass and reeds are exemplary throughout, the rhythm section efficient, the soloists by and large congenial.

If there's a downside it lies in choice of tempo, as every number ambles along at basically the same measured pace. There are no ballads, nor are there any flag-wavers (even "West Point," which by all rights should be entitled to wave a flag). Aside from that (and some atypical dissonance on "Fount"), the package is enticing and neatly wrapped. Colossus is an album—and a band—worth hearing more than once to appreciate its expansive framework and texture.

Track Listing: West Point; Science Adventure; Up and Up; Little Vikings; Mild, Mild Midwest; Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.

Personnel: Dave Chisholm: leader, composer, arranger, trumpet, flugelhorn; Charlie Carr: trumpet, flugelhorn; Joe Kozlowski: trumpet, flugelhorn; Reid Poole: trumpet, flugelhorn; Levi Saelus: alto, soprano sax, flute; Alexa Tarantino: alto sax, flute, clarinet; Marc Abrate: tenor sax, flute, clarinet; Erik Stabnau: tenor sax, flute, clarinet; Karl Stabnau: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Alistair Duncan: trombone; Mike Conrad: trombone; Brendan Lanighan: trombone; Greg Hammond: bass trombone; Gabe Condon: guitar; Jacob Dupre: piano; Matt Krol: bass; Jeff Krol: drums.

Title: Colossus | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Picking Order" CD/LP/Track Review Picking Order
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "Story Tellers" CD/LP/Track Review Story Tellers
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)" CD/LP/Track Review Chase The Light (Excursions in Soul, Reggae, Funk, and Dub)
by Joe Gatto
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Bandit 65" CD/LP/Track Review Bandit 65
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 13, 2017
Read "Feather" CD/LP/Track Review Feather
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "Road to Forever" CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.