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Vince Mendoza: Homecoming

Angelo Leonardi By

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Questo disco di Vince Mendoza (il quinto con la WDR Big Band in 25 anni di sodalizio) forse non sarà acclamato come le collaborazioni con Arif Mardin (Jazzpaña, ACT 1992) o Joe Zawinul (Brown Street, Intuition 2006), nominati o vincitori di Grammys, ma resta un pregevole lavoro orchestrale anche senza ospiti di grido.

Registrato dal vivo in due concerti del novembre 2014 a Köln ed Essen, l'album consta di sette brani originali, scritti dal bandleader appositamente per l'orchestra tedesca e i suoi solisti. Il percorso musicale conferma la ricchezza e lo charme della scrittura di Mendoza, un maestro nel dosare freschezza melodica, aristocratici contrasti timbrici e tensione ritmica, lasciando la possibilità ad alcuni solisti di aggiungere pathos. La WDR Big Band non evidenzia solo un formidabile livello tecnico ma si conferma organico di spiccata personalità, duttile e fantasioso nei territori del modern mainstream jazzistico—il suo ambito di elezione -e nelle aperture verso il rock, il funk o la musica latina.

Il disco inizia con «Keep It Up» un danzante tema soul/funk che vede protagonisti il chitarrista Paul Shigihara e il sax tenore Paul Heller. Il successivo «Little Voice» è una crepuscolare costruzione orchestrale dalle venature evansiane, basato su un frammento melodico ostinato che si dipana con lentezza. Come dice il nome, «Choro #3» è basato sul serrato ritmo brasiliano ma non perde per questo l'eleganza di fondo che pervade il lavoro.
Analoghe considerazioni possono essere espresse per brani successivi, sempre ricchi di fascino. Tra gli altri solisti ricordiamo in particolare Karolina Strassmayer al sax contralto, Frank Chastenier al pianoforte e John Marshall alla tromba.

Track Listing: Keep It Up; Little Voice; Choros; Homecoming; Amazonas; One Time One; Daybreak.

Personnel: Vince Mendoza: composer, arranger, conductor; Johan Hörlan: alto and soprano sax, flute, clarinet; Karolina Strassmayer: alto sax, flute, piccolo; Olivier Peters: tenor sax, clarinet, flute; Paul Heller: tenor sax, bass clarinet; Jens Neufang: baritone sax, bass clarinet, contra alto clarinet; Wim Both: trumpet; Andy Haderer: trumpet; Rob Bruynen: trumpet; Ruud Breuls: trumpet; John Marshall: trumpet; Ludwig Nuss: trombone; Andy Hunter: trombone; Shannon Barnett: trombone; Mattis Cederberg: bass trombone, tuba; Paul Shigihara: electric, acoustic guitar; John Goldsby: electric, acoustic bass; Hans Dekker: drums; Frank Chastenier: piano, Fender Rhodes, Hammond B3 organ; Marcio Doctor: percussion.

Title: Homecoming | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records

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