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Vince Mendoza is a highly creative and cerebral composer and arranger. Epiphany represents perhaps his most ambitious work to date, a full symphonic program with jazz soloists. The program works the classical to jazz spectrum thoroughly, although most of the emphasis is on modern classical; the suite never quite lets loose on a full jazz romp. The moods range from soft and introspective to medium and mellow; there are no loud or fast passages. The opening movement is entirely soft classical. "Wheaten Sky" continues in this vein, gradually yielding to solos by trumpeter Wheeler and guitarist Abercrombie. "Esperanca" swings farther towards the jazz realm, with solos by Brecker, Taylor, and Abercrombie again. The orchestra offers lush support behind the soloists as well as interesting interludes. Lovano and the strings softly caress the gentle melody of "Ambivalence," leading into a solo section with Lovano offering a series of progressively intricate bursts, like a series of fleeting thoughts, over an understated piano vamp and a bed of strings. "Sanctus" features mellow trumpet by Wheeler, followed similarly by Taylor's piano on the title cut. "Barcelona" presents a more jazz-oriented context for Brecker, Abercrombie, and Wheeler. Abercrombie attempts some edgier guitar, but it's still somewhat restrained by the orchestral context. Similarly, Brecker and Wheeler engage in a spirited exchange to the extent the surroundings allow. The closer provides a gentle sax-over-orchestra cushion to lay the suite to rest.
Overall, it's an interesting, enjoyable listening experience. It's an impressive composition and it's executed flawlessly. It's recommended for those who enjoy the classical-meets-jazz genre, but those who are looking for a deeper jazz experience will probably be left a little hungry. (Zebra Acoustic ZA 44407)
Personnel: Vince Mendoza: composer, arranger, conductor, producer; John Abercrombie: guitar; Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone; Peter Erskine: drums; Marc Johnson: bass; John Taylor: piano; Kenny Wheeler: trumpet, flugelhorn; London Symphony Orchestra.
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop
I love jazz because with it I found my true voice. I have always sung since I was a very small child in school and church. And there have been many genre that I have enjoyed including spiritual, folk, country, latin, soca and pop. But nothing has touched my artistic sensiblities like JAZZ! Two years ago I moved to Sarasota, FL where I renewed my focus on my singing career and I was so impressed with the quality, quantity and generousity of talented jazz musicains in the Suncoast area. I soon partnered with piano legend Billy Marcus and his trio with Don Mopsick and Stephen Bucholtz. What a blast working with these guys and having them back me up on my first jaz album, Here's To You... which was just released on October 1st. I can't wait to see where the coming year brings me! Check out syniacarrolljazz.com