216

Gary Morgan: Gary Morgan & PanAmericana! Live at Birdland

Dr. Judith Schlesinger By

Sign in to view read count
Gary Morgan is an unusually gifted composer and arranger. Veteran of the BMI Jazz Workshop, recipient of compositional grants from the NEA and the New Jersey Council on the Arts, he's put together a crisp 20-piece band that's studded with top-level players. Live at Birdland , recorded in 1998 and released in 2003, is lush and lively. Morgan's charts meld a Latin/Brazilian feel with shades of Gil Evans and modern classical music; it's a terrific mix, full of surprising textures and harmonies. A master of dynamics, Morgan builds excitement organically, moving each tune to a satisfying conclusion.



The set contains seven: three fine Morgan compositions, two from venerable Brazilian composers Milton Nascimento and Egberto Gismonti, and an intriguing waltz ("Cactus ) from Michael Rendish, a teacher at Berklee. It's a varied and enjoyable tour, with noteworthy peaks like Morgan's textured "Refractions and "The Black Prince, which begins as a sinuous bolero with a hint of dark, coiled power, and grows into a pulsing 6/8 Bembe rhythm. Nascimento's familiar "Vera Cruz is freshened with intricate harmonies, while Gismonti's "Salvador conjures the spirit of Bahia, ending the CD with whirling percussive joy.



Morgan, a native of Santiago, Chile who grew up in Toronto, has played his woodwinds with such astral bodies as Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, and Dizzy Gillespie; moving to New York in 1980, he switched to bass. When he launched the PanAmerica! Big Band in 1995, he was able to combine his passion for Latin music with other contemporary influences, creating a seamless and exciting whole. A 2005 performance at Dizzy Gillespie's B'hai Center space reconfirmed that PanAmericana! is one of the best bands around, both innovative and respectful of tradition.


Track Listing: Zilch City Blues, Refractions, Vera Cruz, The Black Prince, Cactus, Salvador

Personnel: Jon Owens, Andy Gravish, Bill Mobley, Mike Mossman (trumpets), Chris Washburne, Steve Bleifuss, Elliot Mason, Chris Ollness (trombones), Mike Migliore, Dave Bixler, Adam Kolker, Dave Riekenberg, Terry Goss (saxophones, woodwinds), Chris Komer, Will Parker (French horns), Marcus Persiani (piano), Harvie S. (bass), Terry Clarke (drums), Memo Acevedo, Emedin Rivera (percussion)

Title: Gary Morgan & PanAmericana! Live at Birdland | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: CAP


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Wobbly Danse Flower CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Danse Flower
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Carry Fire CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Acceptance" CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Aquarelle" CD/LP/Track Review Aquarelle
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Hank Mobley" CD/LP/Track Review Hank Mobley
by Greg Simmons
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "88" CD/LP/Track Review 88
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 24, 2016
Read "Chapter Five" CD/LP/Track Review Chapter Five
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Glitter" CD/LP/Track Review Glitter
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 12, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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