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Two progressive artists lead these ensembles in a creative affair. Quiet spaces are interwoven with loud cacophony. A group of orchestral instruments can be made to sound like many things. Here, Jeff Kaiser and Ernesto Diaz-Infante light creative fires and push their ensembles to the limit.
"The Alchemical Mass" combines the formal sounds of church with the kinds of natural motifs that are commonly found in native religious rites. Primal chants and tribal drums are mixed with the delicate performance of a refined chamber choir. The Ojai Camerata bends and shapes its vocal stylings in a search for new and creative ways to indicate religious zeal. Respects are paid as the choir and eleven-piece instrumental ensemble shed their reins. Emotions are bared, and the artists are given ample freedom. Solo voices include trumpet, trombone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, and piano. While the mass follows traditional norms, it contains much free motion and a fair amount of noise.
"Suite Solutio" swings gently with a fluid motion and relaxed freedom. Diaz-Infante's prepared guitar provides the ensemble with a natural timbre. While the five-part suite contains some noise, it proudly showcases freedom in creative jazz. Kaiser's expressive trumpet moans and wails with searing emotion. Jim Connolly's bowed bass mourns, while Diaz-Infante's guitar drives with upbeat energy. In part IV, the sextet distinguishes itself with the kind of blinding speed and virtuosic articulation that recall jazz's earliest pioneers. Scot Ray's trombone aria and Kaiser's tightly muted trumpet sequences prove effective in depicting the ensemble's driving forces.
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me
I was first exposed to jazz as a middle school band student. A college ensemble passed through and put on a concert for the band students (of which I was one). The level of mastery and musicianship blew me away, intimidated, and inspired me. Try as I might, I was never able to achieve a high enough level of competency to perform at the level I was first and subsequently exposed to. Regardless, I was hooked on jazz and remain so to this day.