197

Herculaneum: Orange Blossom

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
The excellence that marks 482 Music's Document Chicago series carries on with this twelfth release. As before, the series serves to showcase the diverse talent that marks the improvised jazz scene in Chicago; Herculaneum brings in its own influences, which it shapes into an earthy, heated and prolifically inspired voice in constant shift.

The band, which was formed in 2002, adopts an avant-garde approach but also has the sensibility of Romany Gypsy brass bands. That's one for the ages, but the amalgam works well particularly with this group's well-defined approach to modernity and a host of ideas.

All of the players bring in a sense of fluidity, at times dramatised, at others working within the soft folds of the composition. They get off to a freewheeling start with "Bears of Illium, where trumpeter Patrick Newbery describes arcs before he settles into a gentler linearity. But then David McDonnell (alto saxophone) calms the waters with a melodic expansion of the melody, nudging the line ever so lightly. Newbery and trombonist Nick Broste have other ideas, which they dissemble and let freedom take the air. Through it all there is one certainty: the band can change tack and course seamlessly.

"Lionheart rallies round the cry of the trumpet and the saxophone as they trade short phrases. Newberry gets out first with a brassy, swinging take, gradually upending form for another free-for-all. McDonnell turns it outside in as he engraves a Middle Eastern melody that turns to be the precursor for a spontaneous explosion of dynamics, capturing the vitality of the band with resonant aural delight.

Even when the mood turns calm, there is a tangible depth to the feeling this music evokes. Case in point: "Cry of the Locust, a ballad that strikes a rich lode on the viola of Andra Kulans; Dylan Ryan is content to acknowledge that presence with low-key accompaniment on the piano.


Track Listing: Bears of Illium; Let There Be Neon; Fuzball in Valhalla; Girl We Couldn't Get Much Higher; Lionheart; Cry of the Locusts; Twin Unicorns; Return to the Woods.

Personnel: Nick Broste: trombone; Greg Danek: bass; David McDonnell: alto saxophone, clarinet; Patrick Newbery: trumpet; Dylan Ryan: drums, vibraphone, piano; John Beard: guitar (3); Andra Kulans: viola (6).

Title: Orange Blossom | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: 482 Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Study of Touch CD/LP/Track Review The Study of Touch
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 20, 2017
Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Truth, Liberty & Soul Live in New York: The Complete NPR Jazz Alive! Recording" CD/LP/Track Review Truth, Liberty & Soul Live in New York: The Complete...
by John Kelman
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Danse" CD/LP/Track Review Danse
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Serious Play" CD/LP/Track Review Serious Play
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 3, 2017
Read "Persuasion" CD/LP/Track Review Persuasion
by Jeff Winbush
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Mercerville" CD/LP/Track Review Mercerville
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "Brass Mask Live" CD/LP/Track Review Brass Mask Live
by Duncan Heining
Published: May 1, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.