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Alan Broadbent: Developing Story

Edward Blanco By

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During the late '70s, now multi-Grammy Award-winning pianist Alan Broadbent, birthed the idea of merging the music of a jazz trio with a full orchestra and strings ..."in a complete phrase for woodwind soli, counterpoint..." in telling a musical story that is still unfolding today. This ongoing musical journey begins with Developing Story as Broadbent and his world-class trio of drummer Peter Erskine and bassist Harvie S, collaborates with the multimedia Hollywood industry London Metropolitan Orchestra (LMO) in presenting one of the most stunningly-gorgeous symphonically-styled jazz musical statements ever recorded.

Performing and conducting for orchestras is not a new thing for the pianist, evidenced by his many recordings in a large ensemble setting, and is currently the orchestra conductor for Diana Krall when in concert on occasion and, when not teaching at NYU. Peter Erskine is a multi-Grammy Award winner himself who has also performed with giants during his, over 600 appearances on albums and film scores throughout his career. Then there is legendary bassist Harvie S, former Jazz ambassador for the U.S. and long-time educator with the Manhattan School of Music, together, this piano trio is unmatched and though playing splendidly throughout the album, they sometimes seem overlooked, musically smothered by the awesome powerful play of the LMO and their strings.

The center-piece of the album is the title song suite performed in series of three separate movements beginning with "Movement 1," which has the orchestra starting off strong then withdrawing as Broadbent engages playing solo piano followed by brief interlude by the trio and settling into gentle musical expressions by the orchestra. "Movement 2" is a delightful slow waltz dedicated to the pianist's wife leading to "Movement 3" featuring an Erskine drum solo among solid horn section phrasings before subsiding and submitting to the pianists humbling chords.

The four jazz ballads for trio and orchestra include Tadd Dameron's classic "If You Could See Me Now," John Coltrane's well-travelled "Naima," the Miles Davis immortal "Blue in Green," and Broadbent's own "Lady in the Lake." Of standards, the pianist writes ..."have always been a gateway to expressing some feeling of the moment," and through his unique arrangements here, succeeds in conveying a musical message, a feeling that words cannot describe but an orchestra and warm keys, do so well.

The story continues and completes with a distinctly different arrangement of another Davis standard "Milestones," and the finale and last original "Children of Lima," penned for the great Woody Herman in the early 70s and around the time of a major earthquake in Peru, thus the dedication to the Children. The arrangement is the same as originally composed with changes for the orchestration. A continuing musical tale, Developing Story is a superb production and may be Alan Broadbent's finest musical moments, a treasure of symphonic jazz and a definite for anyone's personal collection of favorites, well done!

Track Listing: Movement 1; Movement 2; Movement 3; If You Could See Me Now; Naima; Blue in Green; Lady in the Lake; Milestones; Children of Lima.

Personnel: Alan Broadbent: piano; Peter Erskine: drums; Harvie S: bass; London Metropolitan Orchestra: Andy Brown: Musical Director; David Juritz: violin/leader; Ralph De Souza: violin; Garfield Jackson: cello; Caroline Dale: cello; Chris Laurence: double bass; Anna Noakes: flute; John Anderson: oboe; Anthony Pike: clarinet; Alan Andrews: bass clarinet; Gavin McNaughton: bassoon; Martin Owen: horn; John Barclay: trumpet; Chris Dean: tenor trombone; Owen Slade: tuba; Christine Pendrill: English Horn; Gill Tingay: harp; Gary Kettel: percussion; Tristin Fry: timps.

Title: Developing Story | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Eden River Records

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