Offering a unique musical experience where the blend of jazz and classical instrumentation comes together quite nicely, Introductions is the sparkling debut of an unusual octet known as Resonance. There are not many groups that mix the standard sounds of the saxophone, drums and bass with string-oriented instruments like cello, viola, violin, and even piccolo. Resonance does exactly that in providing a host of new and exciting reads of jazz standards like Jimmy Heath's "Gemini" and Duke Ellington's classic "In A Sentimental Mood," as well as others from Gil Evans and Miles Davis.
Co-led by pianist Stephen McQuarry and saxophonist Georgina Krieger, the group performs originals from McQuarry as well as creative arrangements of jazz, pop and classical favoritesall presented with an enhanced rhythm/string section producing a rich fusion of music not heard anywhere else. Though they claim being the only jazz ensemble in all of Northern California with this unique instrumentation, there are not many groups offering this exceptional format throughout the country.
The cymbal sounds of drummer Greg German and bassist Ted Burik's strong lines introduce the Lennon/McCartney pop standard "Eleanor Rigby," kicking off the set in stylish form with both co-leaders providing the meat of this reworked classic. Jazz icon Ellington would be pleased with McQuarry's arrangement of his immortal "In A Sentimental Mood," the pianist's treatment making this standard sound almost new. Much the same can be said of Clare Fischer's Latin-styled "Gaviota," where the strings and flute take over to apply a distinctly new color to this classic.
Krieger's rough baritone sax and Michele Walther's flowing violin are highly expressive on an innovative arrangement of the Gil Evans/Miles Davis medley "Prelude/So What," providing one of this unique recording's many memorable moments. Other outstanding highlights include McQuarry's "The Journey of Each Other," the vocal "Moon and Sand" and the big band-like "See You Next Wednesday," each encompassing gorgeous melodies and meriting repeated spins.
Certainly not a typical jazz outing by any stretch of the imagination, Introductions is much more than a marvelous debut of a musical format sure to resonate throughout the jazz landscape; it's an impressive introduction to Resonance, one of the finest musical collaborations around.
Track Listing: Eleanor Rigby; Gemini; In A Sentimental Mood; Opus; Gaviota; Prelude / So What; Jupiter; The Journey Of Each Other; Moon and Sand; See You Next Wednesday; Song To John Pt. 1; Song To John Pt. 2.