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First released independently but now re-released by Owl Studios, classically trained clarinetist Frank Glover's Politico is a smashing debut; an atmospheric, concatenated narrative.
The clarinet is a peculiar wind instrument with a smooth, sometimes guttural sound that's either loved or hated. Not as bold as a trumpet, it could get overwhelmed in a quartet setting, or at least take a back seat, as it does sometimes in a classical Philharmonic orchestra. Not so with Glover's hands on the keys, who pushes the instrument to the front with force and yet nuanced sensibility. He's accompanied by an experienced and poetic group of masters in the supporting rolesSteve Allee (piano), Jack Helsley (bass), and Bryson Kern (drums)in addition to an entire jazz orchestra. All possess as much complexity and passion as Glover.
The disc starts off with "One Way Ticket," immediately leading down some narrow streets, then hitting the Autobahn, the music shifting from third to fifth gearGlover burring and trilling down the twists and turns, with Allee and Kern driving the abrupt changes in direction. The title tune shines with the truth behind a twisted counterpoint that only a human breath can sow into these film-noir scenes. "Concierto para Quarteto," in three movements, starts out slowly and then ascends to Allee and Glover meeting at the top of the scale, then again downward more quietly, then back up to a liberating crescendo.
"The Last Blue Tang" and "A Thousand Ships," both subtitled "music for film," are reminiscent of relentless action interspersed with moments of pensive quietude. Shades of George Gershwin come up, the clean almost art deco lines demonstrated best in "Plastic Plants." But there are no plastic parts to this album; it's all pure molten steel. Glover's voice has a personality, leading up the winding road through the plot, and the clarinet is the perfect channel for such a set of tales.
Glover has just finished Abacus which will be released in the spring of 2010 and is recorded with a full Philharmonic orchestra. If it is one-quarter as masterful as Politico, then a journey of many colors and destinations awaits. We are wired for stories, it's in our hearts and minds, our stories drive us. Indianapolis has many unsung musicians of unparalleled expertise; there is no musicianship or storytelling ability in Europe that cannot be rivaled here. Frank Glover has demonstrated this amply in Politico.
Track Listing: One Way Ticket; Politico; The Last Blue Tang; Concierto para Quarteto,
Movements I, II and III; Plastic Plants; A Thousand Ships.
Personnel: Frank Glover: clarinet; Steve Allee: piano; Jack Helmsley: bass; Bryson Kern: drums. String orchestra: Phil Palermo: concertmaster; Larry Shapiro; Dan Rizner; Debbie Rodin; Alfred Abel; Konstantin Umansky; Pam Close; Kara Day-Spurlock; Margaret Dugdale; Jenny Womack; Linda Yu-Picard; Leah Wolfe-Garcia; Mike Strauss; Nancy Agres; Colette Abel; Amy Brandfonbrener; Dennis McCafferty; Marjie Hanna; Nancy Smith; Polina Umansky; Garry Wasserman; Jack Helsley. Jazz Orchestra: Joey Tartell; Jeff Conrad; Loy Hetrick; Jared Rodin; Rick Graef; Kent Leslie; Jim Farrelly; Tom Meyer; Mike Stricklin; Mark Ortwein; Jonas Oglesbee.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.