221

Fat Cat Big Band: Face

By

Sign in to view read count
Fat Cat Big Band: Face Face is an album with layers. Each of the ten tracks offers a nuanced explication of anticipation, heartbreak and spirituality. The glistening veneer of giddiness and celebration is attractive and reviving. But if you listen closely, there's also yearning and loneliness and a grasping for spiritual fulfillment. The entire album is soulful in the way some popular, accessible poets are soulful—you respond viscerally to the beauty of the art and only careful revisits will teach you how to appreciate it in its entirety.

The splendid arrangements are the backbone to the album, but the musicians are the source of innovation and newness, true in "Ballade of Eternal Love," a blithe and full song with earnest delivery and vigorous sax. There are 11 musicians who bring an understanding of classical style and a willingness to experiment with sonic form and presence. There is Sharel Cassity on the alto sax and Jack Glottman on piano—smooth but strong, brisk but steady. There is Stacy Dillard, nearly ubiquitous and deservedly so. And there is leader/guitarist Jade Synstelien, whose vocal delivery is explosive and thrilling. Their music is deeply evocative of the stuff produced by famed big-band virtuosos but is spun with a freshness and newness that piques the listener's curiosity.

The record begins with the title track, a piece with a classical form and modern arrangement that boasts a mischievous tempo and just-so wistfulness that's mediated by a synchronicity of instrumental engagement. "Mamacita Tu Es Bonita" is a fun, immediately memorable song that can only be properly enjoyed while dancing and the swiveling crescendo of the vocals sounds as if it was properly recorded in the same way. Face closes with "Road Song for Stacy Dillard & Alexi David," a piece that shows off the same kind of swagger and ease as "Mamacita" while being as different as it could possibly be in both style and substance. It captures the band members' ability to dress up whimsy in a suit and make it sound unforgettable, as is the rest of the album.

Track Listing: Face; Blues for Borden; Love's Lost Rhapsody; Mommy Long Legs; Bory-Alice; Almost Sacha's Favorite Key; Ballade of Eternal Love; Mamacita Tu Es Muy Bonita; Farewell Phoenix; Road Song for Stacy Dillard & Alexi David.

Personnel: Jade Synstelien: guitar/vocals; Phil Stewart: drums; Ben Meigners: bass; Jack Glottman: piano; Sharel Cassity: alto sax; Stacy Dillard: tenor sax; Geoff Vidal: tenor sax; Tatum Greenblatt: trumpet; Brandon Lee: trumpet; Jonathan Voltzok: trombone; Max Seigel: bass trombone.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Smalls Records | Style: Big Band


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Face by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
  • Face by Edward Blanco
Read more articles

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Yo!" CD/LP/Track Review Yo!
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 20, 2016
Read "Danse" CD/LP/Track Review Danse
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Bring Joy" CD/LP/Track Review Bring Joy
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Grace" CD/LP/Track Review Grace
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "Rough Boundaries" CD/LP/Track Review Rough Boundaries
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 31, 2016
Read "Points of View" CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!