Jazz soloists especially like to make two types of recordingsthose in duo with piano and those with strings
. Art Pepper, Frank Morgan, Dizzy Gillespie and Jon Faddis made very fine piano duet recordings (Pepper and Morgan with the same pianist, George Cables, Gillespie and Faddis with Oscar Peterson). But seemingly, the Holy Grail of jazz is the recording with a string section, and many fine (and controversial) ones exist:
- Art Pepper- Winter Moon (Galaxy/OJC)
- Charlie Parker- With Strings Complete (Verve)
- Chet Baker- With Strings (Columbia)
- Clifford Brown- With Strings (Emarcy)
To a recording, all of the above artists addressed standards and little original composition, but a new recording changes this paradigm.
Entering this quest for the gold cup of a recording with strings is multi-reedist Jim Snidero. Mr. Snidero's contribution differs from the lauded group above in that his offering is of mostly of his own composition. Strings is a sumptuous master suite composed of medium-tempo, Bossa- inflected entrees, the jazz combo simmering in the rich berenaise of the strings coupled with light and dark ballad marinades laying on a bed of violins, violas, and cellos.
This eight-composition disc contains a suite comprised of three of the pieces. Two of the eight songs are not Snidero originals, but dovetail perfectly into overall vision of the recording. Pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Paul Gill, and drummer Billy Drummond join Snidero in his core quartet, all exercising wide solo latitude. Mr. Snidero performs on both alto saxophone and flute both to great melodic effect. His compositions are lushly harmonic and light. The entire assembly of songs hangs together cohesively and is one of the finest recordings of the year.
See Fantasy Jazz .