If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.
You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...
The Jazz Composers Alliance (JCA) Orchestra was formed in 1985 and boasts of having “some of New England’s finest improvising musicians.” That is proved on this live recording. More importantly, the recording shows the compositional skills of resident composers Laura Andel, Warren Senders, David Harris, and Darrell Katz, who is the founder and director of the JCA. All four have strength for structure. They also leave enough room for the creative designs of improvisation. In tandem, the music takes on a beckoning shape and edge.
The band brings in a rich tapestry of sound, a distinct proclivity that serves to further embellish the music. The title cut, written by Harris, brings in squiggles and broken lines that swoop and swirl before cementing the free movement in the jaunty march of the brass. But time and structure are changing consonants, the horns floating, bass and drums adding the punctuation, with Phil Scarff going into a loop and fleet shards on the tenor saxophone. A bit of swing, an air of propulsion, time marked and time fragmented all intertwine. The gospel side of Harris is profiled on “Testify.” Fermented by Art Bailey on the roller coaster of the Hammond organ, the tone is thick, lush and deep in the groove before Harris sweeps in on the trombone whooping and wailing in heated ardour. This one slams hard!
The Katz composition “Hemphill,” first recorded by the JCA Sax Quartet, has been expanded for the Orchestra. The four segments that coalesce into the whole are stylistically different. It is the soloists who shine on “Texas,” where swing is pronounced by Norm Zocher on guitar even as he is not avers to throwing in some rock licks and Mike Peipman who flints the lines of his trumpet. Angles jut into curves and odd time signatures augment “Perfumed Globes.” “The Red Blues,” inspired by the Paula Tatarunis poem, is sung beautifully by Rebecca Shrimpton, who knows how to get the pulse and tick of every word.
Indian rhythms make a distinct presence on “Bats,” but Wenders expands the tune to incorporate African ones, thus giving it a greater dimension. The horns particularly Scarff on tenor give the tune its impress. A jagged pulse and mood shifts mark Andel’s “El Tiempo—To My Mother.” The melody arches slowly into a consummate whole, the fabric then warped in low intensity by Keiichi Hashimoto on the trumpet.
An interesting recording that lives up to its title.
Track Listing: In, Thru, and Out; El Tiempo; Hemphill (a four-movement suite that includes Texas, Perfumed Globes, The Red Blues, and Red Blue); Bats; Caruaru; The Metric Dozens; Testify.
Personnel: Hiro Honshuku- flute; Jim Hobbs, Jeff Hudgins- alto saxophone; Phil Scarff- tenor saxophone; Hans Indigo- baritone saxophone; Mike Peipman, Keiichi Hashimoto- trumpet; Jim Mosher- French horn; Bob Pilkington, David Harris- trombone; Jim Gray- tuba; Art Bailey- piano; Norm Zocher- guitar; Rick McLaughlin- bass; Rich Greenblatt- vibraphone; Harvey Wirth- drums; Taki Masuko- percussion; Rebecca Shrimpton- vocal on
I love jazz because there are so many styles and ways to interpret the music--so much room for creativity.
I was first exposed to jazz at a very young age, listening to great artists such as Nat King Cole and Lena Horne.