239

The Swiss Jazz School Orchestra: Shades of Time

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Five years have passed since last I saw and heard the Swiss Jazz Orchestra in New York City, and this latest album (there is at least one other, Live in Montreux, that I know of) serves as a welcome reminder of what an outstanding ensemble it is. The SJSO, ably directed by world-class trumpeter Bert Joris, has devised a provocative game plan this time around, using a different professional soloist on each of the album’s nine selections, starting with Joris himself on his own rip-snorting composition, “Kong’s Garden.”

Except for vibraphonist Silvano Bazan, who performs Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler’s “Get Happy,” and vocalist Sandy Patton (Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”), the other guest artists perform their own compositions as well. Joris is followed by alto saxophonist and SJS director George Robert (“A Day in Paris”), guitarist Francis Coletta (“Surfin’ on the Neck”), acclaimed tenor saxophonist Andy Scherrer (“Second Step”), Patton, Bazan, pianist William Evans (“Sundance”), organist Günter Kühlwein (“Old Times”) and trombonist Robert Morgenthaler (“On the Move”). Although Bazan is listed before Patton on the booklet and tray, his vibes feature actually follows her vocal.

The SJSO has a number of able soloists of its own, including alto saxophonist Till Grünewald (“Surfin’ on the Neck”), tenor Dirk Oesch (“Sentimental Mood”) and guitarist Lorenzo Herrnhut (“On the Move”). But it is the ensemble as a whole that impresses most thoroughly, carrying out its assignments with the sort of energy and élan that ensures the highest level of comfort for each of its prominent guests. While the rhythm sections vary from track to track, that doesn’t seem to make any difference, as the orchestra charts a steady course no matter who is at the helm.

If I lean slightly toward the selections by Joris, Robert, Coletta, Scherrer and Bazan, that is no more than personal preference, as everything on the album is more than agreeable. A splendid orchestra with (invited) soloists to match.

Track Listing: Kong

Personnel: Stefan Geiser, Johannes Walter, Thomas Knuchel, Lukas Th

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: TCB Music | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Get 'Em CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Radioactive Landscapes EP CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read The Many Minds of Richie Cole CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Shelter" CD/LP/Track Review Shelter
by Budd Kopman
Published: June 15, 2016
Read "Moanin'" CD/LP/Track Review Moanin'
by Chris Mosey
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Positive Changes" CD/LP/Track Review Positive Changes
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 29, 2016
Read "Negative Spaces" CD/LP/Track Review Negative Spaces
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 8, 2016
Read "Four Plus Three" CD/LP/Track Review Four Plus Three
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 5, 2016
Read "Collectables" CD/LP/Track Review Collectables
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 2, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!