Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

4

School Of Music Graduate Ensemble: Mars Apes

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
The Philadelphia based University of Arts is famous for the excellence of its school of music and particularly the high caliber of its jazz education. Listening to the whimsically titled Mars Apes, it becomes clear that these accolades are not undeserved.

Billed as School Of Music Graduate Ensemble, the group performs mostly original material by its individual members, on this foray into the uncertain terrain of fusion. The engaging music does not, however, conform to the traditional sense of the style; namely amalgamation of rock and roll structure with jazzy sensibilities. Sure, there are Weather Report-esque moments, as heard on "Hope," where under versatile guitarist Dave Bozenhard's leadership, the rhythm section lays down smooth, rollicking beats. Bozenhard's intelligent solo, with its gorgeous tone and laidback tempo, builds a jam band ambience on his own "Torches." Even these compositions, however, demonstrate elements of other musical expressions. Angular hints of classical modernism pepper the former, while a lilting sonata like structure characterizes the latter.

Bozenhard's modal "Linking Logs" features woodwind virtuoso Mark Allen, whose Levantine reed weaves an improvised and hypnotic fairy tale around the dark mysticism of the theme. His acerbic saxophone flirts with freer sounds on Rihards Fedotov's expansive arrangement of saxophonist John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," especially when backed solely by the latter's asymmetric percussion.

The classically trained Fedotov not only excels at reinterpreting the Coltrane classic; he also demonstrates his writing chops on such tracks as the funky "ToBeInIt," with Allen's swaggering sax and Bozenhard's bluesy guitar over a bed of soulful R&B-inspired grooves, courtesy of genre-bending electric bassist Sandy Eldred.

Eldred's title tune finds him switching to acoustic contrabass and creating a percussive and hypnotic vibe over which Bozenhard creates cinematic harmonies and Allen introduces a warm poetic touch with hints of melancholy.

No matter how this stimulating album's music is labeled, one thing remains clear: the inherent talent of these four young men, combined with the phenomenal education they have received, has resulted in a uniquely creative work. Hopefully the quartet will record again together—and soon.

Track Listing: Haj; Mars Apes; Giant Steps; Butteroll I; Torches; Hope; ToBeInIt; Butteroll II; Linking Logs; Good Morning.

Personnel: Mark Allen: woodwinds; Dave Bozenhard: guitars; Sandy Eldred: bass; Rihards Fedotovs: drums.

Title: Mars Apes | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Shadow Work CD/LP/Track Review Shadow Work
by Phil Barnes
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Veterans of Jazz CD/LP/Track Review Veterans of Jazz
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Ariel CD/LP/Track Review Ariel
by Paul Rauch
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Fukushima CD/LP/Track Review Fukushima
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 22, 2017
Read Dedication CD/LP/Track Review Dedication
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 21, 2017
Read Surface of Inscription CD/LP/Track Review Surface of Inscription
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 21, 2017
Read "Autumn Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Autumn Wind
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 3, 2017
Read "Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds" CD/LP/Track Review Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "Akua's Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 19, 2017
Read "Green Moss Black Sand" CD/LP/Track Review Green Moss Black Sand
by Chris Mosey
Published: July 30, 2017
Read "Satori" CD/LP/Track Review Satori
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 7, 2017
Read "Scratches Of Spain" CD/LP/Track Review Scratches Of Spain
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 9, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor