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Fresh Cut Orchestra: From The Vine

Glenn Astarita By

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Here's a Philadelphia band that offers a novel perspective on large ensemble jazz with ever-so-slight inclinations toward the outside realm, which is just enough to present an enlivening aspect to these nine diversely enacted tracks. Sadly, "The Mothers' Suite" compositions relate to the tragic passing of bassist Jason Fraticelli's mother-in-law, shortly before the birth of his first child.

Off-kilter electronics treatments, polytonal nuances and other factors weave in and out of these works that tender a cornucopia of slants on modern jazz, rock and Latin jazz vernaculars. For example, on "Mother's Love" saxophonists Mark Allen and Mike Cemprola's popping notes ride above a capacious panorama and punchy rhythmic maneuvers, coupling divine ascensions with edgy overtones. But the melodic horns arrangements spring forward, which is an occurrence that cyclically reappears on many of these works.

The musicians execute alternating views and hip adaptations of the Latin element with a daintily melodic synth hook on "Ritual of Take." And "Migration of the Spirit," yields quirky keys patterns, complementing a jazz fusion foundation, accelerated by Matt Davis' scathing distortion-laced guitar solo. Yet the following piece "The Reawakening," boasts an easy-going straight four pulse via the sprightly intersecting horns choruses. At times, the horns arrangements project the power of Maynard Ferguson's big band along with snappy, groove-oriented motifs, encased in a futuristic outlook.

"Uptown Romance" looms as yet another divergent aspect of this band's arsenal, as they render a bluesy and ballsy thematic opus, counterbalanced by pianist Brian Marsella's introspective solo, heightened with swiftly enacted Oscar Peterson-like harmonic block chords. Given the comprehensive scope of the musicians' prismatic and rather modish debut, it would be a safe bet to surmise that their future output and nouveau sense of direction looks mighty promising.

Track Listing: The Mothers’ Suite, Movement I - Birth of a Child; The Mothers’ Suite, Movement II - Mother's Love; The Mothers’ Suite, Movement III - Ritual of Take; The Mothers’ Suite, Elegy for a Mom; The Mothers’ Suite, Movement IV - The Funeral; The Mothers’ Suite, Movement V - Migration of the Spirit; The Mothers’ Suite, Movement VI - The Reawakening; Uptown Romance; Sanguine.

Personnel: Mark Allen: saxophones; Mike Cemprola: saxophones; Brent White: trombone; Brian Marsella: piano & keyboards; Matt Davis: guitar; Tim Conley: guitar & laptop electronics; Francois Zayas: percussion; Josh Lawrence: trumpet & flugelhorn; Jason Fraticelli: upright bass; Anwar Marshall: drums.

Title: From The Vine | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Ropeadope


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