257

The Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble: Pragmatic Optimism

By

Sign in to view read count
Directed by drummer/composer/arranger and educator Wade Barnes, The Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble has been hard at work with their own recordings as well as spreading the word across the United States with concerts and clinics. The seventeen-member group consists of residents of Brooklyn, New York, and most of these musicians have deep roots insofar as experience and commitment are concerned. If Pragmatic Optimism is any indication of their talents, then there should be a bright future for this organization.

This album does begin in a deadening way with two vocals from Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch, as she first asks the musical questions posed by Bob Dylan in the opening verses of "Blowin' in the Wind," and then a Martin Luther King tribute composed by Roland Alexander and Arnold Jenkins ("King"). Over the course of these first thirteen minutes, the ensemble largely accompanies a soulful Cumberbatch.

However, beyond this point I was won over by the arrangements and the ensemble, which features a "bottom" coloration emphasizing the sound of mellophone, euphonium, tuba, bass trombone and baritone sax. It all becomes evident on the playing of "The Power of Feeling" and "The Power of Thought," featuring smartly played solos by Dale Turk on bass trombone, James Zollar on trumpet and John Nam, piano. Other soloists include metallic playing by guitarist Yoshiki Miura and sparkling vibes work from the often free jazzer Bill Ware.

Cumberbatch returns for a version of Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments," presenting the Mark Murphy lyrics. This time she is much more of a jazz singer, and during the long vocal break there are effective solos from Tom Olin on soprano sax and Hayes Greenfield on alto sax. There is one more vocal on "Body and Soul, with the closing "Thoughts of Love" featuring Zollar's trumpet.


Track Listing: Blowin' In the Wind; King; Passive Volition; The Power of Feeling; The Power of Thought; Stolen Moments; Big Little Sis; Little Big Sis; Body and Soul; Thoughts Of Love.

Personnel: Wade Barnes: drums, director; Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch: vocals; James Zollar: trumpet; Vincent Chancey: french horn; Mark Taylor: mellophone; Kiane Zawadi: euphonium; Dale Turk: bass trombone; Ralph Hamperian: tuba; McDonald Payne: clarinet; Tom Olin: soprano saxophone; Hayes Greenfield: alto saxophone; Mario Escalera: tenor saxophone; Don Slatoff: baritone saxophone; William Ware, III: vibraphone; Yoshiki Miura: guitar; John Nam: piano; Ratzo Harris: bass.

Title: Pragmatic Optimism | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "Bloodroot" CD/LP/Track Review Bloodroot
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 10, 2017
Read "Extremophile" CD/LP/Track Review Extremophile
by John Eyles
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "The Day After" CD/LP/Track Review The Day After
by David A. Orthmann
Published: February 14, 2017
Read "Happy Orchestra: Baba" CD/LP/Track Review Happy Orchestra: Baba
by Paul Rauch
Published: September 14, 2017
Read "Aquarelle" CD/LP/Track Review Aquarelle
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 7, 2017
Read "Highsmith" CD/LP/Track Review Highsmith
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 7, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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