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.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Self Produced


Shop

More Articles

Read Circles CD/LP/Track Review Circles
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Windmills CD/LP/Track Review Windmills
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Ugly Beautiful CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Trickster CD/LP/Track Review Trickster
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 24, 2017
Read Caipi CD/LP/Track Review Caipi
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 24, 2017
Read United CD/LP/Track Review United
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "Very Early" CD/LP/Track Review Very Early
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "At This Time..." CD/LP/Track Review At This Time...
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "Altadena" CD/LP/Track Review Altadena
by Mark F. Turner
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Prairie Burn" CD/LP/Track Review Prairie Burn
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "Mu" CD/LP/Track Review Mu
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

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!