113

Steve Hudson Chamber Ensemble: Galactic Diamonds

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Steve Hudson Chamber Ensemble: Galactic Diamonds Some people favor the big statement: the bling of an over-large jewel, the blinding distraction of too many sparkly things. Others have the good taste to know that the small stones shine most brightly. Pianist, composer and melodica player Steve Hudson is one of those people, and the debut recording from his Steve Hudson Chamber Ensemble, Galactic Diamonds, is a collection of little gems.

The idea of a Chamber Ensemble might suggest a classical aggregation; as does the presence of Jody Redhage's cello and Zach Brock's violin. But Martin Urbach's percussion takes the group in a more jazz- and funk-oriented direction while Hudson's use of the melodica gives "Para" more than a hint of a Parisian street scene.

Above all, it's the ensemble's willingness to draw so many different styles of music into its repertoire that makes it stand out. "Galactic Diamonds" is the closest the album gets to a straight-ahead jazz number. "Tune With Tango" is pretty much what it says, but this is a jagged, slightly threatening, tango with a sense of pent-up emotions just below the surface. Redhage's wordless vocal adds an air of mystery to "PG" and "Galactic Diamonds." "Funky Hobbit" begins with a funky but simple groove from Hudson's electric keyboard and Brock's violin, but this introduction is deceptive for it soon shifts shape, breaking down into some free jazz improvisation before returning to the opening groove as the tune ends. "Wanderin'" is a delightful contrast, evoking an evening's parlor entertainment with its gently lilting melody from Brock and Hudson's sympathetic piano accompaniment. "Keep It Simple" is a gorgeous, romantic, ballad centered on the pizzicato cello and violin of Redhage and Brock.

The album's tour de force is "Mingus Moon," a nine minute opus that slips and slides through Brock's slightly spooky violin; a sharp, Balkan-style passage driven by Hudson's piano and Urbach's percussion; and finally some deftly played late-night bluesy piano. The tune brings Galactic Diamonds to a fittingly varied close—a summary of the changing moods and motifs that make this album so consistently intriguing and enjoyable.

Track Listing: Tune With Tango; Keep It Simple; Speak Out; Song For John Lennon; PG; Galactic Diamonds; Para; Moving On; Funky Hobbit; Wanderin'; Mingus Moon.

Personnel: Steve Hudson: piano, melodica; Zach Brock: violin; Jody Redhage: cello, vocals; Martin Urbach: drums, cajon, percussion.

Title: Galactic Diamonds | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Screen Sounds CD/LP/Track Review Screen Sounds
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 20, 2017
Read The Bug CD/LP/Track Review The Bug
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Sing Me Some Cry CD/LP/Track Review Sing Me Some Cry
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2017
Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "The Picasso Zone" CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "The Dead Man" CD/LP/Track Review The Dead Man
by James Nadal
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "Yellow Red Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Yellow Red Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "Cross My Palm With Silver" CD/LP/Track Review Cross My Palm With Silver
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 28, 2017
Read "Mu" CD/LP/Track Review Mu
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 30, 2016

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.