Great music stands the test of time. Composer/arranger/bandleader Graham Collier proves that once again with the release of Hoarded Dreams. The work was commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain for the ninth Bracknell Jazz Festival in July 1983.
Collier has sandwiched five extended parts between the introduction and the coda. They become the take-off and landing points of the suite.
His writing is secure in its art. He lets structure lay the foundation and then opens the doors for improvisation. More, he lets the musicians stimulate the path with their own imagination. In tandem, they work wonders.
Collier has always had the most adventurous and forward thinking musicians in his band. The musicians here have been part of his experience before and as they gear once more to his writing, give the pertinence and the process to his compositions, making them all the more engrossing.
This becomes immediately apparent as "Part 1 sears into free form and then finds solace against the velvet curtain of the horns. It is a quick introduction to the direction the music will take.
Collier composes with an eye for detail. The ensemble passages are a work of art, seamless lines flowing in poetic unison. They leave enough space for an instrument to wriggle in and make a distinct statement. When the soloists come up front, they disassemble all that has gone before. And so a new image emerges, one that has distorted the whole, yet enfolds a richness emblazoned in resplendent color.
There are several indelible images. They come when guitarist Ed Speight plays in harmony with the reeds on "Part 3, his notes falling in a graceful arc. And then, playing the melody as Juhanni Altonen sears lines on the alto saxophone, yet keeping the melody in his flow.
Or the burly tenor saxophone of Art Themen on the free blowing "Part 6, where the horns run in and through a prism of bent lines that the ensemble picks up and lays down neat and straight.
Though the music here is named "Part 1 through "Part 7, Collier had a more logical design. The segments were written for a particular combination of instruments and with a distinct direction. Either way, this is marvelous and quite indispensable.
Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4; Part 5; Part 6; Part 7.
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