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Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra: The Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra

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Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra: The Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra
The Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra, co-led by pianist/composer Steven Feifke and trumpeter par excellence Bijon Watson, is a seventeen-member ensemble comprising seasoned players paired with young lions who are poised to capture pride of place. Nowhere do the leaders say who is in which group, and it would be impolitic to name them here. Suffice to say that some of the names may be more familiar than others—as, for example, trombonist John Fedchock who cut his teeth with one of Woody Herman's last Herds, leads a splendid big band of his own in New York City and has performed with a who's who of jazz luminaries for more than forty years.

That's one down, sixteen to go. Well, two down, actually, as singer Kurt Elling, a two-time Grammy Award winner, certainly needs no introduction to knowledgeable jazz fans. Fedchock is showcased on Feifke's brash and colorful "Scenes from My Dreams," Elling on "Sassy" (a full-throated, rap-like salute to Sarah Vaughan) and Sting's ardent "Until." A fast-rising star, guest tenor saxophonist Chad LB, starts the ball rolling (after Feifke's sparkling intro) on the pianist's impetuous "I Got Algorithm," leading to heated exchanges with fellow tenor Tom Luer and a vigorous solo by trumpeter Mike Rodriguez. "Sassy" is next, followed by Joe Henderson's powerful "Inner Urge" (solos by alto Alexa Tarantino, baritone Lauren Sevian and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr.) and "Until."

Watson, the orchestra's lead trumpet, sets the melodic compass on the ballad "Remember Me," while guitarist Will Brahm adds an ardent solo. Hugh Masakela's "Dollar's Moods," inspired by pianist Dollar Brand (a.k.a. Abdullah Ibrahim), is an infectious swinger featuring superb work by the sax section and spirited solos by Feifke and guest trumpeter Sean Jones, while Horace Silver's well-traveled "Nica's Dream" shines brightly behind crisp statements by Watson, Feifke and Owens. That sets the stage for the album's dazzling finale, Feifke's fast-moving "Blues in a Second," wherein the entire trumpet section (Watson, Rodriguez, Tanya Darby, Danny Jonokuchi, guest Jones) slams one out of the park.

Regardless of any age discrepancy within its ranks, the GGJO is a truly remarkable ensemble, and its debut album (the hope is that many more will follow) is sharp and radiant from start to finish. As to listeners, may they never be too young—or too old—to appreciate high-caliber jazz that swings as hard and as often as this.

Track Listing

I’ve Got Algorithm; Sassy; Inner Urge; Until; Scenes from My Dreams; Remember Me; Dollar’s Moods; Nica’s Dream; Blues in a Second.

Personnel

Bijon Watson
trumpet
Chad LB
saxophone, tenor
Kurt Elling
vocals
Sean Jones
trumpet
Tanya Darby
trumpet
Alexa Tarantino
saxophone, alto
Christopher McBride
saxophone, alto
Thomas Luer
saxophone, tenor
Roxy Coss
saxophone, tenor
Lauren Sevian
saxophone, baritone
John Fedchock
trombone
Javier Nero
trombone
Kalia Vandever
trombone
Jennifer Wharton
trombone, bass
Will Brahm
guitar

Album information

Title: The Generation Gap Jazz Orchestra | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Cellar Records


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