All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

16

The Danny Fisher-Lochhead Large Ensemble: On Ceremony

Karl Ackermann By

Sign in to view read count
Given his absorbing ensemble work on Tools of the Abstract (Fishkill Records, 2015) and his critical role on the William Mason Ensemble album Beams of the Huge Night (New Amsterdam Records, 2015), composer/alto saxophonist/pianist Danny Fisher-Lochhead would neatly fit into the subjective category of progressive big band music. Fisher-Lochhead's ensemble work is comparable—if not as widely recognized—to that of Darcy James Argue. Fisher-Lochhead has worked in smaller settings as well, such as a solo piano album, Piano Songs (Fishkill Records, 2014), a duo outing with promoter/saxophonist Adam Schatz and a quintet release, Wake the Baby Up (Fishkill Records, 2014). However, it is in these expanded formats that Fisher-Lochhead's broad vision best comes to fruition.

On Ceremony reunites Fisher-Lochhead's Large Ensemble with some minimal reorganization, notably the absence of drummer Evan Hughes. Fisher-Lochhead's decision to spread percussion parts among nine of the ten group members, works very effectively to convey the composer's idea of creating a varied but subtle rhythmic feel in the multifaceted, improvisational music.

The title track and "Rhythmic Minis" are fine examples of structured improvisation, a hard process to manage with an ensemble of this size, but Fisher-Lochhead does an excellent job in letting all the voices be heard while still providing some involved interactions between the players. About thirteen minutes into the long "Ink Minnesota" Fisher-Lochhead transitions from a pastoral setting into free playing before returning to the main theme. "Rhythmic Interlude" combines exotic flavors with just a bit of big band fastidiousness and a slightly disjointed, and forlorn melody. The album closes with the brief and melancholy "Thai/Disarmament."

Fisher-Lochhead is part traditionalist, part transformer and like his previous large ensemble project, his work is highly aspiring and equally appealing. He doesn't throw improvisations around like a clinical exercise but uses it as the means to an end. On Ceremony can be thick with textures at times and sharp, and to the point at others. The players are first-rate and the written material is sophisticated without any pomposity. When Fisher-Lochhead allows the higher degrees of free playing step to the front, we're as ready as needs be for his spontaneity and arrested by his effective use of improvisation as a link to contrasting themes. On Ceremony is a classy and adventurous recording in every regard.

Track Listing: On Ceremony; Rhythmic Minis; Ink Minnesota; Rhythmic Interlude; The Death of Cool; Thai/Disarmament.

Personnel: Chris Doyle: Wurlitzer keyboard, percussion; Ross Gallagher: upright bass, percussion; Zach Lane: upright bass, percussion; Alex Truelove: trombone, percussion; Kenny Warren: trumpet (2,3,4,5), percussion (3,4,5); Thomas Bergeron: trumpet (1,6); Ben Cohen: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone (5), percussion; Kyle Wilson: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone (5), percussion; Aaron Rourk: clarinet (3,5,6), clarinet (1,2,4,5), alto saxophone (1), percussion; Danny Fisher-Lochhead: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone (5,6), percussion.

Title: On Ceremony | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Fishkill Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Grime Scene CD/LP/Track Review
Grime Scene
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 20, 2018
Read (Willisau) 1991 Studio CD/LP/Track Review
(Willisau) 1991 Studio
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Tradition CD/LP/Track Review
Tradition
by Chris May
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Life Anthem CD/LP/Track Review
Life Anthem
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 20, 2018
Read Closer To Home CD/LP/Track Review
Closer To Home
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 20, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "Aural Vertigo" CD/LP/Track Review Aural Vertigo
by Daniel Barbiero
Published: July 9, 2017
Read "Life Stories" CD/LP/Track Review Life Stories
by Jerome Wilson
Published: May 28, 2018
Read "Eleven Cages" CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Transitions" CD/LP/Track Review Transitions
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 23, 2017
Read "Metamorphoses" CD/LP/Track Review Metamorphoses
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 13, 2018
Read "Drifting Home" CD/LP/Track Review Drifting Home
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 12, 2017