125

Brussels Jazz Orchestra: Live

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Although Belgium doesn’t leap readily to mind when the conversation turns to hotbeds of Jazz, that country has produced a handful of outstanding Jazz musicians — Toots Thielemans, Bobby Jaspar and a few others — and boasts at least one world–class big band, the Brussels Jazz Orchestra. On Live, recorded in May ’97, the BJO performs three compositions by one of Belgium’s leading composer/arranger/players, trumpeter Bert Joris, one by saxophonist Erwin Vann and another by the orchestra’s leader/alto saxophonist, Frank Vaganée. Two of the selections are actually three–movement works — Vann’s “Hortensia,” aptly described in the liner notes as an “odyssey for big band with rhythmical mine fields,” and the “Louis Armstrong Suite,” written by Joris as part of a project called You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet, which provides musical backgrounds for movies of the 1920s and ’30s. Joris also composed “Mr. Dodo,” which was recorded previously by the Swiss Jazz School big band, and “Nuées d’Orage,” inspired by guitarist Django Reinhardt’s “Nuages,” while Vaganée contributed “Manna Hatta,” written for his final exam at a workshop in Cologne, Germany. Vaganée, as it turns out, is also one of the orchestra’s most persuasive soloists, as he shows on “Nuées d’Orage,” “Manna Hatta” and “Hortensia,” Part 2. There are a number of others including trumpeters Blondiau, Paré and Latucca; tenors Defoort and Van Herck, trombonists Godfroid and Mertens, alto/clarinetist Alleman, baritone Vanderwerf and pianist Erbstösser. After opening with Joris’ eloquent “Nuées,” the BJO performs the suites back–to–back (accounting for about 44 of the disc’s generous 72–minutes–plus playing time), which could test one’s endurance if the second of them, “Louis Armstrong,” weren’t so superbly written and played. Its third movement, “I’ve Found a New Baby,” is a highlight with its small–group Dixie–style nucleus welded securely to big–band swinging of the highest order (and drummer Pallemaerts kicking some old–fashioned butt). “Manna Hatta,” which begins darkly, soon gives way to further animated blowing before Vaganée’s alto slows the tempo, then re–establishes momentum for a driving, all–out run to the finish line that leads to Erbstösser’s hushed single–note epilogue. The orchestra closes the concert with “Mr. Dodo,” another dynamic example of big–band muscle with enterprising solos by Van Herck and Blondiau. A memorable live date by one of Europe’s most prominent Jazz orchestras, and easily recommended.

Track listing: Nuées d’Orage; Hortensia (Parts 1, 2 and 3); Louis Armstrong Suite — Struttin’ with Some Barbecue, St. James Infirmary, I’ve Found a New Baby; Manna Hatta; Mr. Dodo (72:11).

Personnel:

Andy Haderer, Laurent Blondiau, Michel Par

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Radio 3 | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Tangled CD/LP/Track Review Tangled
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Is It Me...? CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review Live
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 25, 2017
Read 14.11.2016 CD/LP/Track Review 14.11.2016
by Nicola Negri
Published: April 25, 2017
Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read "Brass Tactics" CD/LP/Track Review Brass Tactics
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 28, 2016
Read "Odil - Something" CD/LP/Track Review Odil - Something
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 27, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 6, 2016
Read "And the Rhythm Serenaders" CD/LP/Track Review And the Rhythm Serenaders
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 22, 2016
Read "Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass" CD/LP/Track Review Comes Love - A Tribute To Ella Fitzgerald And Joe Pass
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Flux" CD/LP/Track Review Flux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!