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ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Holober: Balancing Act

Read "Balancing Act" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Pianist/composer Mike Holober has had an active career with big bands (including HR Big Band Frankfurt, WDR Big Band Cologne, Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, and the Westchester Jazz Orchestra in the U.S.). So he brings a refined approach to the composing and arranging on this octet recording. He set himself an ambitious goal: to feature a vocalist, but as another frontline instrument rather than the primary focus. “I wanted to use a singer and lyrics in extended form compositions--not wrapped up ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Holober: Balancing Act

Read "Balancing Act" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky

Conceptualizing and creating music is a delicate balancing act, leaving composers to strive for symmetry between head and heart, reasoning and intuition, and structure and freedom. Who better to understand that than Mike Holober? Whether penning a piece or playing piano, Holober has always shown himself to be mindful of the need to find harmony between those and other opposing principles. It's his ability to do so that, in large part, has made him such a hot commodity in the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Holober & The Gotham Jazz Orchestra: Quake

Read "Quake" reviewed by Elliott Simon

Duke Ellington's legacy is alive and well with pianist Mike Holober and The Gotham Jazz Orchestra. Holober makes use of the increased musical scope that 17 pieces give him to weave compositional strength within a sound that sways more than swings. Some of the finest jazzers New York City has to offer join Holober for this session. Their individual talents are certainly showcased but the strength of this release is how Holober fits them all together to ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mike Holober and the Gotham Jazz Orchestra at The Jazz Standard, NYC

Read "Mike Holober and the Gotham Jazz Orchestra at The Jazz Standard, NYC" reviewed by Budd Kopman

Mike Holober and the Gotham Jazz OrchestraThe Jazz StandardNew York City, New YorkFebruary 11, 2008 That The Jazz Standard was packed on a very cold Monday night for the early set, and sold out for the second set, is a tribute to the following that pianist/composer Mike Holober has built, notwithstanding the friends of the band and the press that were in attendance. This eighteen-piece group (4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Holober: Wish List

Read "Wish List" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Wish List is pianist/composer/bandleader Mike Holober's third album, in addition to appearances in the piano chair for the Pete McGuiness Jazz Orchestra, the Jason Rigby Quartet, the Pete McCann Quintet and the Anita Brown Jazz Orchestra. Holober is a New York-based pianist who previously had worked with Nick Brignola's group and whose style has been influenced by such modal pianists as Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock.His first album, Canyon (Sons of Sound, 2003), was produced by another modal ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Holober: Wish List

Read "Wish List" reviewed by David Miller

The great thing about jazz is that you may think you know a lot about a lot, but in reality you don't know jack. It seems every time I pop in a new record, I learn about a new artist I've never heard before. In listening to Mike Holober's Wish List, I was lucky enough to learn about three: Holober, Tim Ries, and Wolfgang Muthspiel. Wish List is simple enough. It's a straight-ahead recording, with a track ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Holober and the Gotham Jazz Orchestra: Thought Trains

Read "Thought Trains" reviewed by Robert R. Calder

Mike Holober's not just another pianist working within long-established post-Bill Evans methods, he's one of the rare very individually creative ones. Given his more monumental approach, his Gotham Jazz Orchestra can seem something of an extension of his piano work. His orchestration sometimes fills out a piano conception, sometimes interacts with his playing, piano concerto fashion. A band member's solo will sometimes have the full orchestra, sometimes the at times equally full-sounding rhythm section, in accompaniment. Planned and grand. With ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Holober: Canyon

Read "Canyon" reviewed by John Kelman

With a strong supporting cast, New York pianist Mike Holober's Canyon delivers a fine first effort of modern post-bop material. Producer Fred Hersch takes Holober, a busy sideman on the New York scene, and places him in the spotlight, garnering the artist broader recognition.

Holober is a lyrical pianist coming from the Evans/Jarrett/Jamal tradition, but while his playing on Canyon is strong and confident, his compositions are the real highlight of the release. The seven originals run the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Holober: Canyon

Read "Canyon" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Mike Holober, pianist and composer of most of these songs, is the nominal leader of this combo. However, the bulk of the melody chores are handed to saxophonist Tim Ries. Herein lies the difference. Ries, a veteran New York session player and recording artist with three releases under his own name, plays both soprano and tenor sax. On soprano, he plays with a more metallic sound that takes away from the melody; his approach on tenor is much in the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Mike Holober: Canyon

Read "Canyon" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist/composer Mike Holober's songs brim with shifting textures and moods, like the color changes wrought by the inexorbably-shifting angles of sunlight playing upon the striations of a canyon wall. Holober spends free time hiking and climbing, and he wrote the title tune for Canyon after a trip to Utah's Paria Canyon, an experience that inspired a song full of seamlessly shifting grooves.Those shifts and changes within a composition – done while maintaining an entrancing accessibility – are Holober's ...