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Jazz Articles

CATCHING UP WITH

Maria Schneider on "The Thompson Fields"

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Maria Schneider is one of the most influential artists on the international jazz scene. Her open minded approach has led her to become a referent as a composer without being tagged to a specific genre. In the jazz panorama, she receives recognition for her impeccable, beautiful and meaningful compositions as well as for her passionate and determined work as a conductor of her orchestra. The Thompson Fields (ArtistShare, 2015) marks the first Maria Schneider Orchestra release in eight years. With ...

LIVE REVIEWS

London Jazz Festival 2015

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London Jazz Festival London, UK November 13-22, 2015 Like many city-fests, the London Jazz Festival criss-crosses the town, spanning the River Thames that splits it in two. Two Southbank Centre venues--the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room--are being refurbished this year, making Kings' Place an even more significant festival stage and bringing the Cadogan Hall near “posh" Sloan Square into major service. The festival's programming is, as ever, eclectic and highly creative ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields

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At the time Maria Schneider released Evanescence (Enja, 1994), big band jazz--especially in the US--was overly predictable and indecisively hanging on like ballroom music in a ghost town. Schneider, while embracing the best practices of earlier legendary big band leaders and her mentors, Gil Evans and Bob Brookmeyer, had added unconventional elements to her own compositions. With each release she has become more of an avant-garde impressionist capturing the beauty and sadness of a nomadic soul wandering through what was ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields

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The singular achievement of Maria Schneider is to merge the particular with the universal: to use her very personal experiences and memories as grist for music which is aurally beautiful and deeply infused with love. This love originates from Schneider the person and artist; it is amplified and returned by those directly involved in the creation of this work through the ArtistShare process (including those who commissioned “Arbiters of Evolution," “Home" and “Lembranca"); finally, it is received by ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields

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It's always interesting to discuss the jazz greats of yesteryear and swap thoughts on how the new generation of artists stacks up against the likes of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington. And it's quite possible that the consensus opinion there would be that virtually no one working today can compare favorably to those iconic figures. But in a much different time, when the artistic offerings competing for our entertainment dollars and attention are vast compared ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields

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Composer and band leader Maria Schneider has only a single peer... Carla Bley. Both women are direct descendants of Duke Ellington and the spiritual children of Hector Berlioz. They are not masters of a single instrument, but of collections of instruments and their achievement is realized from directing those instruments in a given direction dictated by their composition and arrangement...just like Ellington. Their compositions are often intricate and expansive, conceived with precision and performed with warmth and organic intelligence. Schneider's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields

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There's a wealth of information to be found inside the beautiful packaging that accompanies this release, but a brief Theodore Roosevelt quote may be the most telling piece of text to be found there. It reads: “There is nothing more practical in the end than the preservation of beauty, than the preservation of anything that appeals to the higher emotions in mankind." That really says it all about this artist and her work, for there is nobody more capable of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Maria Schneider: Lembra De Mim

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June of 2015 can't come soon enough for fans of the Maria Schneider Orchestra. That month will see the release of the The Thompson Fields--the long-awaited followup to the stunning Sky Blue (ArtistShare, 2007). In the meantime, Schneider has been gracious enough to deliver a pair of bonus tracks to tide everyone over until the album drops: an updated take on “Dance You Monster To My Soft Song," a piece originally presented on Evanescence (Enja, 1994), and her arrangement of ...


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