4

School Of Music Graduate Ensemble: Mars Apes

Hrayr Attarian By

Sign in to view read count
School Of Music Graduate Ensemble: Mars Apes 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 The Company I Keep CD/LP/Track Review The Company I Keep
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ma De Re Sha CD/LP/Track Review Ma De Re Sha
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Ask Seek Knock CD/LP/Track Review Ask Seek Knock
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Air and Light and Time and Space CD/LP/Track Review Air and Light and Time and Space
by John Eyles
Published: June 28, 2017
Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Slight Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Slight Freedom
by Dave Wayne
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Just for Fun" CD/LP/Track Review Just for Fun
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2016
Read "Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959" CD/LP/Track Review Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 40 - Zurich 1959
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Unification" CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "Of The Night" CD/LP/Track Review Of The Night
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 30, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.