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Steve Lindeman with BYU Synthesis: Steve Lindeman with BYU Synthesis: The Day After Yesterday

Jack Bowers By

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There are times when making music requires sacrifice. Few people should be more aware of this than composer / arranger Steve Lindeman who studied from 2008-11 at the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in New York City—while he was living in Utah! The Workshop held meetings one to three times a month, and Lindeman simply commuted to them by air, rooming with a daughter who had an apartment in Brooklyn. "[W]hile racking up enough frequent flier miles to own half of Delta Airlines," BMI Workshop director Jim McNeely remarks in his perceptive introductory notes to The Day After Yesterday, "[Lindeman] also managed to write a lot of good music"—much of which is embodied on this splendid recording with Brigham Young University's Jazz Ensemble, Synthesis, ably directed by Ray Smith.

As Lindeman's writing is inspired by memorable events, intimate memories, close relatives, others with whom he has bonded, and even literary works, every composition has a unique story to tell, and Lindeman uses a variety of musical shadings and styles to help make their narratives come alive for the listener. He's fortunate, as a member of the music faculty at BYU, to be able to employ the sizable talents of the university's Jazz Ensemble to enhance his music, as Synthesis was named the country's Best University Jazz Big Band for 2013 in DownBeat magazine's annual census. The ensemble does nothing to besmirch its well-earned reputation here, unraveling Lindeman's often elaborate charts as to the manor born.

The opening number, "Lavender Flowers on Her Table," inspired by his mother's love for all things lavender, purple and violet, is followed by "Meet Me When the Stars Come Out" (a fond reminiscence of his boyhood days in Indiana), "Long Gone" (a rhythmic lament for the passage of those innocent years) and the album's lone vocal, by Kelly Eisenhour, on "Take Me to Wonderland Right Away," dedicated to Swedish-born pianist Stefan Karlsson who teaches at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. The jazz waltz "Aunt Jeanne" bows to Lindeman's aunt, Jeanne Jones Snow, "I Remember" to his father, Clifford Louis Lindeman, one of whose favorite songs was Victor Scherzinger / Johnny Mercer's "I Remember You." "Verloren" (in German, "lost") was written for Murray Borlen (unidentified in the notes), while "October, Last" is an even-tempered musical sketch of Lindeman's favorite month. The album closes "With Wandering Steps," an earnest showpiece for pianist Jordan Kamalu inspired by the poet Dante's Inferno, and the light-hearted "Take a Jake Break," written for Lindeman's son, Spencer Jacob.

Lindeman labored long and hard to produce these themes, and his unflagging focus is evident in every phrase. Synthesis, for its part, gives the music its due, playing unimpeachably as a unit while eliciting impressive solos from Kamalu; trumpeters Charles Carr, Austie Robinson and Dallas Crane; trombonists Daniel Burt and Kevin Jenson; soprano Jory Woodis, tenor Ben Nichol, baritone Eric Backman, guitarist Brady Bills and director Ray Smith on alto, flute and piccolo. Superbly recorded with well-drawn dynamics and balance. In sum, a remarkable "debut" album for fifty-eight-year-old Steve Lindeman.

Track Listing: Lavender Flowers on Her Table; Meet Me When the Stars Come Out; Long Gone; Llevame ya al Mundo de las Maravillas (Take Me to Wonderland Right Away); Aunt Jeanne; I Remember; Verloren; October, Last; With Wandering Steps; Take a Jake Break.

Personnel: Steve Lindeman: composer, arranger, Hammond B-3 organ; Ray Smith: director, alto sax, flute, piccolo; Charlie Carr: trumpet, flugelhorn; Bryce Calli: trumpet, flugelhorn; Austie Robinson: trumpet, flugelhorn; Celeste Knowles: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dallas Crane: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jory Woodis: alto, soprano sax, clarinet, flute; Justin Hammer: alto sax, clarinet, flute, alto flute; Ben Nichols: tenor sax, clarinet, flute, alto flute; Derek Crane: tenor sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, alto flute, bass flute; Eric Backman: baritone sax, bass clarinet; Kevin Jenson: trombone; Daniel Burt: trombone; Curtis Biggs: trombone; Greg Rumsey: bass trombone, tuba; Jordan Kamalu: piano; Brady Bills: guitar; Aaron McMurray: acoustic, electric bass; Jay Tibbits: drums, shaker; Special guests: Kelly Eisenhour: vocals; Steve Call: tuba. Members of Q’d Up: Ray Smith: flutes, saxophone; Steve Lindeman: Hammond B3 organ; Jay Lawrence: auxiliary percussion; Ron Brough: auxiliary percussion, vibraphone, marimba.

Title: Steve Lindeman with BYU Synthesis: The Day After Yesterday | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Jazz Hang Records

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