654

Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra: Meeting of the Waters

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra: Meeting of the Waters The Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra, now seven years old, has produced its second superlative album of contemporary jazz, a cosmopolitan enterprise showcasing impressive compositions and arrangements by musical director Daniel Barry; Englishwoman Hazel Leach, co-leader of the European-based United Women's Orchestra; and Jill Townsend, one of Canada's most talented writers in the big-band genre.

As on its previous recording, Dreamcatcher (OA2, 2004), SWOJO leaves no doubt that it can play with anyone, readily mastering charts that would test even the most battle-hardened ensemble. The careful use of shading and dynamics is especially remarkable, as all but one of the eight selections were recorded in concert with no safety net or second chances. The exception is Barry's "Checkered Demon which, unlike the others, ends with no applause. The album is so cleanly recorded, however, that the absence of an audience response is the only avenue by which to separate the concert selections from the lone in-studio track.

Barry, the orchestra's music director since its inception, appreciates a Latin beat, a fondness that is conspicuous on three of his four compositions, even though the rhythms are often gentle and understated. Again, the anomaly is "Checkered Demon, a bluesy charmer on which tenor saxophonist Cynthia Mullis excels. "Demon follows the supple opener, "Encontro das Águas (Meeting of the Waters), whose lone soloist is trumpeter Barry himself.

Leach weighs in with "The Tulip Wonder, a lyrical swinger featuring trombonist Jennifer Kellogg that opens calmly and builds in intensity, and the meditative "Self Portrait, nicely sung by Greta Matassa alongside splendid solos by trumpeter Sarah Nelson and tenor Tina Richerson. As with most modern songs, I haven't a clue as to what the lyrics mean, but they seem quite serious and profound.

Townsend's charts appeared previously on her excellent album, Tales from the Sea (Pagetown, 2003). The first is her own enchanting composition, "Waltz of the Jellyfish, the second the lovely standard "Old Folks, a luminous arrangement on which Mullis is again showcased, this time on alto sax.

Bassist Rachael Contorer, alto Lisa Gordanier and pianist Ann Reynolds are the soloists on "Jellyfish, which precedes Barry's powerful "Mighty Urubamba, "Old Folks and his softly flowing "Miraflores. Nelson, drummer Jeremy Jones and percussionist Michelle McGowan are admirable on the former, Jones and Richerson ditto on the latter.

In sum, the inescapable verdict is that SWOJO has earned another blue ribbon. Recommended without pause.

Track Listing: Encontro das

Personnel: Daniel Barry: music director, trumpet (1); Dennis Haldane: trumpet; Marge Rosen: trumpet; Angela Smith: trumpet (2, 4-8); Sarah Nelson: trumpet (2, 4-6, 8); Mike Mines: trumpet (4); Chad McCullough: trumpet (1, 3); Michael van Bebber: trumpet (1, 3); Shelly Devlin: trumpet (7); Lisa Gordanier: alto sax, clarinet; Cynthia Mullis: alto, tenor sax; Barbara Hubers-Drake: alto sax (1-7), Gwen Bayly: alto sax (8); Tobi Stone: tenor sax, clarinet; Tina Richerson: tenor sax; Ann Babb: baritone sax; Carolyn Caste: trombone; Mariah Ralston: trombone (1, 3-8); Erin Easley: trombone (1, 3, 5, 6, 8); Cynthia McGowan: trombone (2, 4, 7); Kellyn Haley: bass trombone (2, 7); Jennifer Kellogg: trombone (2), bass trombone (1, 3-6, 8); Ann Reynolds: piano; Rachael Contorer: bass; Jeremy Jones: drums; Michelle McGowan: percussion (1, 6, 8). Special guests: Greta Matassa: vocals (4); Hazel Leach: conductor (4); Jill Townsend: conductor (5).

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: OA2 Records | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Overseas V CD/LP/Track Review Overseas V
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Salão Brazil CD/LP/Track Review Salão Brazil
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Overseas V CD/LP/Track Review Overseas V
by Troy Collins
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Behind The Mist CD/LP/Track Review Behind The Mist
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Sedimental You CD/LP/Track Review Sedimental You
by John Sharpe
Published: March 30, 2017
Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 29, 2017
Read "Need to Bring Out Love" CD/LP/Track Review Need to Bring Out Love
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 5, 2016
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 19, 2017
Read "From the Heart" CD/LP/Track Review From the Heart
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Muddy Ditch" CD/LP/Track Review Muddy Ditch
by John Eyles
Published: April 7, 2016
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 5, 2017
Read "Lost Signals" CD/LP/Track Review Lost Signals
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

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!