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 fashion these elegant presentations. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones make appearances via extended reworkings of "Here Comes the Sun" and "Ruby Tuesday." With Holober's approach, the danger here is treading too close to muzak, but his arrangements, Dave Pietro's alto saxophone and Tim Ries' tenor on the former along with Mark Patterson's trombone and Steve Cardenas' guitar on the latter expand and evolve these pop tunes into intriguing inventions.
The originals likewise are conceptually strong and benefit from gorgeous voicings and a perfect amount of flavoring from the soloists. The title cut evokes autumnal imagery over which Ries' soprano dances. "Twist and Turn" does so seductively as Holober's Rhodes and John Hebert's bass add some funky overtones that are picked up by Charles Pillow's tenor sax. "Roc and a Soft Place," dedicated to band leader Joe Roccisano, is a very pretty and leisurely stroll. "Note to Self," a very melodic yet contemplative tune, and "Thrushes," which uses the bird's song as muse, feature reflective solos from Holober against delicate scores. There is definitely a classicist at work here and the details, subtleties and shades are refreshing and elegant.
Track Listing: Quake; Twist & Turn; Roc & A Soft Place; Here Comes The Sun; Note To Self; Thrushes; Ruby Tuesday.
Personnel: Mike Holober: piano, fiddle; Dave Pietro: saxophone; Jon Gordon: saxophone; Tim Ries: saxophone; Charles Pillow: saxophone; Steve Kenyon: saxophone; Tony Kadlek: trumpet; Craig Johnson: trumpet;
Scott Wendholt: trumpet; Joe Magnarelli: trumpet; Bruce Eidem: trombone; Mark Patterson: trombone; Pete McGuinness: trombone; Nate Durham: trombone; John Hebert: bass; John Riley: drums.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.