All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


All Angles Orchestra: New Angle

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
There was a time not long ago when most big bands fell more or less into fairly well-defined cubicles. There were, for example, those that were best known as dance bands (Glenn Miller, Harry James, the Dorsey brothers, Artie Shaw, Ray Anthony and so on), and, on the other hand, those whose raison d'etre was jazz and swing (Basie, Herman, Kenton, Barnet, Thornhill and their peers). That was then; this is now. Like it or not, bands these days literally approach the listening audience from All Angles, mapping out musical blueprints that may unsettle one's inbred receptors as they dive boldly into new and sometimes uncharted waters.

Composer / arranger / trombonist Mike Conrad's New Angle is one that has been embarked upon before with varying degrees of success: a fusion of jazz and classical elements designed to frame a palette of sound that devotees of both genres may find pleasing. It's a taut and ticklish balancing act, as there must be enough of the jazz and classical ingredients to keep champions of both genres reasonably engaged and happy. Conrad leads with broad instrumentation, stocking the classical component with woodwinds, a string quartet, oboe, English horn, melodica and even a marimba (the first voice heard on the opening "New Angle"), and assures the jazz presence with trumpet, flugelhorn, guitar, piano, bass and drums, reinforced by tenor saxophonist Kenyon Brenner (on two numbers) and especially guest trumpeter Alex Sipiagin (on three).

Conrad composed half of the album's eight selections, trumpeter Greg Weis a pair ("To the Summit," "Vermilion Skies"), while pianist Tom Amend wrote the elegiac finale, "Uncommon Valor." The remaining number is Cole Porter's enduring standard, "What Is This Thing Called Love," tastefully arranged by Conrad and enclosing crisp solos by Amend and Sipiagin (who is also showcased on "New Angle" and "Uncommon Valor"). Joe Darpino's marimba and Matt Landon's guitar set a light-hearted mood on the opener, whose aura is enhanced by Sipiagin and drummer Ryan Leppich as the strings have their say as well. The horns are muted on Conrad's groovy, Mancini-like "KaBlooz!," which leads "To the Summit," whose vibrant rhythms are introduced by the strings and reinforced by Brenner's expressive tenor and Landon's guitar. The easygoing "Vermilion Skies" enwraps handsome statements by Amend and bassist Seth Lewis, while Conrad's "Berceuse" and "2020" scrupulously blend the elements of classical and jazz to ensure that neither is overshadowed by the other. Conrad's rarely heard melodica is pivotal on "Berceuse," London's guitar and Amend's piano on "2020."

When all is played and strummed, there can be no doubt that Conrad and his bisected ensemble have accomplished what they set out to do, which is to offer prospective listeners a fresh New Angle with respect to "classical" jazz. In doing so, they have cooked up a wholesome entree for the open-minded.

Track Listing: New Angle, KaBlooz!, To the Summit, Vermilion Skies, What is This Thing Called Love?, Berceuse, 2020, Uncommon Valor

Personnel: Mike Conrad: leader, conductor, trombone, melodica; Alex Sipiagin: trumpet, flugelhorn; Kenyon Brenner: tenor saxophone; Justin Cook: flute; Veronica Lovely: oboe, english horn; Darrel Watson: bass clarinet, clarinet; Greg Weis: trumpet, flugelhorn; Kerrie Pitts: horn; John Mathews: bass trombone, tuba; Ching-Hsuan Wang: violin, Gina Buzzelli: violin; Tyler McKisson: viola; Katarina Pliego: cello; Joe Darpino: percussion; Matt Landon: guitar; Tom Amend: piano; Seth Lewis: bass; Ryan Leppich; drums

Title: New Angle | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Outside In Music


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Dreams And Other Stories CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams And Other Stories
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2018
Read The Nook CD/LP/Track Review
The Nook
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations CD/LP/Track Review
Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 22, 2018
Read Moments Before CD/LP/Track Review
Moments Before
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 22, 2018
Read From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD Blu Ray) CD/LP/Track Review
From The Vault: No Security, San Jose '99 (2CD + SD...
by John Kelman
Published: September 22, 2018
Read with whom you can be who you are CD/LP/Track Review
with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read "Romaria" CD/LP/Track Review Romaria
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 18, 2018
Read "with whom you can be who you are" CD/LP/Track Review with whom you can be who you are
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 21, 2018
Read "2" CD/LP/Track Review 2
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 19, 2017
Read "Solano Canyon" CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read "Vestigium" CD/LP/Track Review Vestigium
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: September 15, 2018
Read "Light in the Ring: The Ali Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Light in the Ring: The Ali Suite
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: June 7, 2018