All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 (or more) and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

306

John Vanore & Abstract Truth: Contagious Words

Greg Simmons By
Published:
Sign in to view read count
John Vanore & Abstract Truth: Contagious Words John Vanore & Abstract Truth's Contagious Words has the qualities of either a small big-band date or a big small-band date, depending on the perspective. There are twelve musicians listed on every track, and five more who show up for a few tracks each. That certainly has the instrumental mix for a full big band sound, but Vanore, who plays trumpet and composed most of the tracks on the album, uses the full power of the orchestra judiciously.

The writing is complicated enough to sound modern and highly crafted, but remains accessible enough to retain fans of easier-on-the-ears music. The melodies range from quirky to straightforward to abstract, and almost everywhere in between, with rich orchestration throughout. "Dreams" possesses a slow jam feel, first featuring guitarist Greg Kettinger, then Vanore, using the greater horn section only sporadically in support of the soloists. "Recess," on the other hand, features a more fully realized orchestral statement, morphing into the album's most abstract track, with well-regulated discord closing it out.

As a soloist, Vanore plays his horn open with a bright, searching tone. Kettinger adds some really fine fretwork throughout. Tenorist Bob Howell opens "Restless" with a keening free improvisation, before the full band loudly bursts in, returning to take a fine, straight-ahead turn. With this many musicians involved there isn't enough space to give a shout-out to all of them, but everyone involved is really on top of this music.

It's nice to see the leader of a larger ensemble leave so much space for his band mates to work out. Although he's the leader, Vanore is only listed as a soloist on four tracks, taking care to credit all of the soloists individually in the album notes. In an egalitarian touch, he also ensures that the band lays out, for the most part, during solos, allowing the individuals a little limelight.

Contagious Words is a strong example of what a thoroughly modern large jazz ensemble can accomplish: great music with fascinating arrangements and first-rate individual performances. There should be more orchestras like this one.


Track Listing: Envy; Substructure; You Go To My Head; Restless; Dreams; Neopolis; Recess; Felony.

Personnel: John Vanore: trumpet, flugelhorn; Michael Mee: alto and soprano sax, flute; Bob Howell: tenor and soprano sax, bass clarinet, flute; Joe Cataldo: trumpet, flugelhorn; Sean McAnally: trumpet, flugelhorn; Tony DeSantis: trumpet, flugelhorn; Bill Pusey: trumpet, flugelhorn; Kevin Rodgers: trumpet, flugelhorn; George Barnett: French horn; Fred Scott: trombone; Larrry Toft: trombone; Greg Kettinger: guitar; Craig Thomas: acoustic and electric bass; Dan Monaghan: drums; Ron Thomas: piano; Heather Fortune: flute; Jim Daniels: bass trombone.

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: acoustical concepts


Related Video

Shop For Jazz

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Culture
Culture
acoustical concepts
2013
buy
Blue Route
Blue Route
acoustical concepts
2013
buy
Contagious Words
Contagious Words
acoustical concepts
2011
buy
Curiosity
Curiosity
acoustical concepts
2010
buy

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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