All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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

Related Articles

Read SuperClusters CD/LP/Track Review
SuperClusters
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 21, 2018
Read Your Queen Is A Reptile CD/LP/Track Review
Your Queen Is A Reptile
by Chris May
Published: February 21, 2018
Read Melodious Drum CD/LP/Track Review
Melodious Drum
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 21, 2018
Read The Speed of Dark CD/LP/Track Review
The Speed of Dark
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 21, 2018
Read Love & Peace CD/LP/Track Review
Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read La Saboteuse CD/LP/Track Review
La Saboteuse
by Chris May
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "Recent Developments" CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "A Meeting Of Spirits" CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Incidentals" CD/LP/Track Review Incidentals
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 23, 2017
Read "Tensegridad" CD/LP/Track Review Tensegridad
by John Sharpe
Published: January 2, 2018
Read "Polygon" CD/LP/Track Review Polygon
by Pascal-Denis Lussier
Published: May 21, 2017
Read "Overneath" CD/LP/Track Review Overneath
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 15, 2018