Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

275

Brussels Jazz Orchestra / Royal Flemish Philharmonic: Dangerous Liaison

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
I am loath to use the word masterpiece when appraising any musical endeavor, but there is simply no better way to describe these remarkable compositions for big band and symphony orchestra by the superb Belgian composer/trumpeter Bert Joris, which together frame the definitive answer to anyone who says there's not much happening on the European jazz scene.

Joris was commissioned by the Brussels Jazz Orchestra and Royal Flemish Philharmonic to write two compositions for big band and orchestra, and they positively chose the right man for the task. His extended works, "Dangerous Liaison and "Between Hope and Despair, are absolutely brilliant, as are the two shorter pieces, "Anna and "Alone at Last, that consummate this in-concert date recorded in May '06 at deSingel in Antwerp. Joris not only confronted but vanquished the formidable challenge of blending jazz ensemble and symphony orchestra, designing wonderful themes that not only are aesthetically rewarding but also satisfy the essential jazz criterion of swing while assuring that neither ensemble assumes a dominant role.

The opening passage of "Dangerous Liaison, played primarily by winds and strings before the brass appear at the three-minute mark, reminds me of something Tchaikovsky might have written, or perhaps one of the French romantic composers. More than four minutes elapse before the BJO enters, creating a more contemporary groove that nourishes heated solos by trumpeter Nico Schepers, alto Frank Vaganée, and tenors Kurt van Herck and Bart Defoort. Even though the jazz component is in command, the orchestra is never slighted and is an integral part of the resolution.

"Hope and Despair, on the other hand, embodies a more rigorous fusion of band and orchestra, ambling along at a moderate pace that is thoroughly compatible with both its jazz and symphonic purposes. Again, the soloists are dazzling, from drummer Martijn Vink (on brushes) to Vaganée, pianist Nathalie Loriers, trombonist Marc Godfroid and trumpeter Gino Latucca. Joris is the lone soloist on "Anna, a sumptuous ballad inspired by his encounter with "an extraordinary six-year-old girl at a garden party. Once more, the symphony orchestra plays an indispensable role in its success, as it does on "Alone at Last, a meditative blues in C gently introduced by Loriers' lissome piano, pizzicato strings and unison brass. Joris again solos, this time with alto saxophonist Dieter Limbourg.

A masterpiece? When all is said and written, that is in the ear of the beholder. I'm willing to cast aside any misgivings and use that word to portray Dangerous Liaison, and would encourage others to listen openly and decide for themselves.


Track Listing: Dangerous Liaison; Anna; Between Hope and Despair; Alone at Last (53:24).

Personnel: Bert Joris: composer, arranger, trumpet; Daniele Callegari: conductor, Royal Flemish Philharmonic. Soloists on Track 1: Nico Shepers: trumpet; Frank Vagan

Title: Dangerous Liaison | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Domusic

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Richie Cole Richie Cole
saxophone, alto
Bob Belden Bob Belden
arranger
Gordon Goodwin Gordon Goodwin
composer/conductor
Gerald Wilson Gerald Wilson
composer/conductor
Bill Holman Bill Holman
saxophone, tenor
Chris Walden Chris Walden
arranger
Anthony Brown Anthony Brown
percussion

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read New American Songbooks, Volume 2 Album Reviews
New American Songbooks, Volume 2
By Karl Ackermann
February 19, 2019
Read Live At JazzCase Album Reviews
Live At JazzCase
By Troy Dostert
February 19, 2019
Read Eastern Sonata Album Reviews
Eastern Sonata
By James Fleming
February 19, 2019
Read Cannonball Album Reviews
Cannonball
By Rob Rosenblum
February 19, 2019
Read Child Of Illusion Album Reviews
Child Of Illusion
By Don Phipps
February 19, 2019
Read Infection In The Sentence Album Reviews
Infection In The Sentence
By Chris May
February 18, 2019
Read Real Isn't Real Album Reviews
Real Isn't Real
By Phil Barnes
February 18, 2019