Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » School Of Music Graduate Ensemble: Like No One Else


School Of Music Graduate Ensemble: Like No One Else


Sign in to view read count
School Of Music Graduate Ensemble: Like No One Else
The University of the Arts in Philadelphia (UARTS) has one of the premier jazz education programs in the USA. This excellence is apparent in the exceptional careers of some of their alumni, such as bassist Stanley Clarke and trombonist Robin Eubanks. It is also documented well in the many recordings that the university's various ensembles release. Under the attentive guidance of the head of graduate jazz studies, pianist Don Glanden and through his tireless mentorship the students have many superb albums to their credit. School of Music Graduate Ensemble's Like No One Else is another intriguing Glanden production.

The pianoless quintet interprets all original compositions that have a modal flavor. Vibraphonist Dimitris Angelakis opens his own title track with ringing and resonant unaccompanied beats. Thus he sets the darkly romantic mood. Languid horns and loose, sashaying rhythm section enter adding depth and breadth to the melody. Angelakis takes center stage with a mordant and poetic improvisation that becomes a shimmering and heady ballad. Saxophonist Tal Shtuhl follows, with his tender and muscular tenor, weaving a fervent and imaginative soliloquy. Angelakis introduces understated Latin hints to the energetic conclusion as trumpeter Daniel Nissenbaum blows warm phrases in a clear and burnished tone.

Nissenbaum's composition "Quai Du Seine" explores popular French motifs. Drummer Conner Saltzer engages in a lithe and elegant dance that the frontline punctuates with brief up-tempo vamps. After Nissenbaum and Shtuhl state the melody, the former takes a lyrical and passionate solo that swings like mad as the band percolates in the backdrop. Around this loose hard-boppish core Shtuhl's charming saxophone flows gracefully and with a poetic sense.

One of Shtuhl's own contributions, "A Thousand Years Apart," is intimate and introspective and features languid ensemble refrains. Shtuhl embellishes the tune with eloquence and yearning. His inventive duet with Nissenbaum adds to the dramatic ambience as does the latter's fiery, clever extemporization.

The centerpiece of this alluring album is its closer the exquisite "The Sketch." Penned by Glanden, it functions as a grand finale both in its scope as well as length. Shtuhl and Nissenbaum overlap undulating lines to form a pliable sonic web around the Angelakis' cascading strikes, Saltzer's rumbling kit and bassist Ryan Kuhns' reverberating strings. The individual musicians launch into a stimulating and free flowing conversation that transforms into five, stream of consciousness, monologues. A very cinematic exchange of ideas ensues with an ardent and gripping harmonic structure that falls between the mainstream and the progressively adventurous.

The combination of such raw talent with the first-rate nurturing institutions like UARTS provide, assures that the future of jazz is secure and bright. A listen to this captivating disc is enough to convince anyone of this fact.

Track Listing

WR; Interlude: Saxophone; Quai Du Seine; Interlude: Drums; Snowscape; Interlude: Trumpet; Like No One Else; Interlude: Bass; A Thousand Years Apart; Interlude: Vibraphone; Poem; Nostalgia; The Sketch.


Don Glanden: composition; Daniel Nissenbaum: trumpet; Musician Name #3: instrument; Dimitris Angelakis: vibraphone; Tal Shtuhl: saxophone; Ryan Kuhns: bass; Conner Saltzer: drums.

Album information

Title: Like No One Else | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.




Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.