ECM Records Releases Michael Formanek's "The Distance"


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Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus is: Loren Stillman (alto saxophone); Oscar Noriega (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet); Chris Speed (tenor sax, clarinet); Brian Settles (tenor sax, flute); Tim Berne (baritone sax); Dave Ballou, Ralph Alessi, Shane Endsley (trumpets); Kirk Knuffke (cornet); Alan Ferber, Jacob Garchik, Ben Gerstein (trombones); Jeff Nelson (bass trombone, contrabass trombone); Patricia Brennan (Marimba), Mary Halvorson (guitar); Kris Davis (piano); Michael Formanek (double-bass); Tomas Fujiwara (drums); Mark Helias (conductor).

The Distance represents a grand creative leap for bassist-composer Michael Formanek, following two widely lauded ECM releases featuring his quartet with Tim Berne, Craig Taborn and Gerald Cleaver. The new album showcases his texturally rich compositions for the dynamic 18-piece big band he has playfully dubbed Ensemble Kolossus. The project saw some of the most distinctive musicians on the New York scene bonding to realize Formanek’s epic design, as he re-imagined what a big-band can be. Channeling sounds from the classic to the modern, he also composed for individual soloists in the Ellingtonian tradition. Along with the dusky romanticism of the title track, The Distance features the “Exoskeleton” suite—a kaleidoscopic musical experience in which Formanek’s bold, beautiful vision for 21st-century large-ensemble jazz comes vibrantly to life.

IN CONCERT: March 22-23 New York, NY (Jazz Standard)


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