All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

185

Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra: Shrimp Tale

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Light flourishes, grand pronouncements, fleeting and flitting figures, sudden shifts in mood, and wide emotional arcs are part and parcel of the music created by the Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra.

Chan, a classically trained pianist who came up in Hong Kong, hopped all over the United States while honing his writing skills. He studied jazz arranging as an undergraduate at the University of Miami, acquired a master's degree in composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, did his doctoral work at the University of Southern California, and sharpened his pen as a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in New York City. Through those varied situations, he received guidance, advice and encouragement from some superb writers, including Gary Lindsay, Shelly Berg, Vince Mendoza, and Jim McNeely. The work of each of those men has rubbed off on Chan, yet his writing doesn't ape their respective styles; he's quickly established his own voice, and it's one worth taking note of.

Rancho Calaveras (Crown Heights Audio Network, 2013)—an EP that featured three pieces—helped Chan gain some traction with the jazz press, and Shrimp Tale fulfills the promise hinted at on that eighteen-minute long release. Those three previously released numbers and five other winners fill out the first full length release from this Los Angeles-based band. The music has a way of balancing reverence and revelry, positivity and pathos, and gusto and gentility. Quick, clever, and well-executed shifts in mood, meter, and musical language define Chan's work. One piece might tap into ancient Japanese traditions, shift its view to modern day China, and throw in a bluesy episode before heading back to olden days ("Moving To A New Capital"); another may cook and burn, as salsa works its way into the picture and guest trumpeter Wayne Bergeron flies high; and others may celebrate the connective relationship(s) between words and music, as Lauren Marks brings poet Elaine Cohen's text to life while Chan paints with dark ("Monte Alban") and light ("Solita") colors.

While Chan's writing is the star, his orchestra has no shortage of compelling solo voices. Kevin Garren's soprano saxophone provides rays of sunshine, trumpeter Michael Stever makes his mark on a few occasions, and Tom Luer's tenor is the heart of the sweeping "Rene's Barcarolle." More than ten different top-notch players in the group get to stand in the spotlight at one time or another.

It's hard to believe this band, founded in 2011, was still basically in its infancy when it recorded this album in 2013. The Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra is a well-oiled machine, and one that moves and acts like no other.

Track Listing: Tsu Zu Ku; Shrimp Tale; A Spirit’s Dream; Moving to a New Capital; Monte Alban; Solita; Rene’s Barcarolle; Rancho Calaveras.

Personnel: Alan Chan: composer, arranger; Rob Schaer: trumpet; Rick Baptist: trumpet; Tony Bonsera: trumpet; Michael Stever: trumpet; Kevin Garren, Alex Budman, Tom Luer, Jeff Driskill (2, 3, 5), Vince Trombetta (1-4, 6-8), Ken Fisher: saxophones; Andy Martin: trombone (1-4, 6-8); Charlie Morillas: trombone; Dave Ryan: trombone (2, 3, 5); Paul Young: trombone; Steve Hughes: trombone; Andrew Synowiec: guitar, banjo; Andy Langham: piano; David Hughes: bass; Jamey Tate: drums; Lauren Marks: narrator (4, 5); Darla Driskill, Zane Driskill: children’s chorus (8). Special Guest — Wayne Bergeron: trumpet (2).

Title: Shrimp Tale | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Crown Heights Audio Network

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Shrimp Tale

Shrimp Tale

Crown Heights Audio Network
2014

buy

Related Articles

Read Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller CD/LP/Track Review
Paul Heller Meets Roman Schwaller
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Change In The Air CD/LP/Track Review
Change In The Air
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Vera CD/LP/Track Review
Vera
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 18, 2018
Read In Motion CD/LP/Track Review
In Motion
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Marshian Time Slip CD/LP/Track Review
Marshian Time Slip
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 18, 2018
Read Four On The Road CD/LP/Track Review
Four On The Road
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 17, 2018
Read "Doubtless" CD/LP/Track Review Doubtless
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 2, 2018
Read "Prisma" CD/LP/Track Review Prisma
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 19, 2018
Read "UpRoot" CD/LP/Track Review UpRoot
by David Rocheleau-Houle
Published: December 29, 2017
Read "Out Of Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Out Of Silence
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica" CD/LP/Track Review Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 1, 2018
Read "Emanon" CD/LP/Track Review Emanon
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 14, 2018