All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

307

Shapes: The Big Picture

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
By Ted Kane

The Big Picture is the second album from pianist/vibraphonist Roger Burn's protean Shapes ensemble. Like their debut, 2003's The Last Farewell, this set features original compositions from not only Burn but also other members, including harmonica player Tollak Ollestad and guitarists Mike Higgins and Matthew Von Doran. This release is a two-CD affair, and Shapes use the additional time to include their arrangements of several standards. The resultant experience is similar to that of seeing the band play a couple of sets at Spaghettini or the Baked Potato on a given night—the big picture of the band and its mix of contemporary and classic jazz.

Jimmy Haslip is again behind the booth, and occasionally on the other side of it as well. Also on hand are some of his colleagues from the Yellowjackets, including Russell Ferrante, whose turns at various keys allows Burn to shine at marimba on "Eat the Heat" and on vibraphone in several places, as well as Jackets alumnus Robben Ford, who—well, who contributes by being Ford. His introduction to the group's reading of "Naima" is simply beautiful, and Ollestad's arrangement of the tune itself is canny and effective, eschewing the seemingly inevitable bossa nova for a light reggae rhythm that probably sounds a lot better on disc than it looks on paper. And his chromatic harmonica here and elsewhere is a defining element of the group's sound.

The Big Picture is an ambitious effort from a band that seems incapable of giving any other kind. Shapes is a interesting band; though the exact lineup of players and their exact instrumentation is somewhat fluid from track to track, the group nonetheless manages to establish a unique identity. Their sound is contemporary, but still rooted in straight-ahead jazz.


Track Listing: CD1: Arc of Twilight, Naima, The Big Picture, Gabriela, Eat the Heat, Lobster, Measure Once, Sotto Voce. CD2: Softly As in a Morning Sunrise, Love for Sale, In the Outdoors, I Didn't Know What Time It Was, Automat, I Still Remember, What Now?

Personnel: Tollak Ollestad--chromatic harmonica, keys, background vocals; roger Burn--keys, vibraphone; Larry Steen, Dean Taba--bass, Jimmy Haslip; various others...

Title: The Big Picture | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Burnin' Down the House Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
The Big Picture

The Big Picture

Burnin' Down the House Records
2005

buy

Related Articles

Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Love Wins CD/LP/Track Review
Love Wins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 19, 2018
Read 1538 CD/LP/Track Review
1538
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Mutt Slang CD/LP/Track Review
Mutt Slang
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Prisma CD/LP/Track Review
Prisma
by Ian Patterson
Published: June 19, 2018
Read Jazz Tango CD/LP/Track Review
Jazz Tango
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 18, 2018
Read "A Humdrum Star" CD/LP/Track Review A Humdrum Star
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 9, 2018
Read "Cluster Swerve" CD/LP/Track Review Cluster Swerve
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 6, 2017
Read "Story Tellers" CD/LP/Track Review Story Tellers
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "On Parade In Parede" CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read "II" CD/LP/Track Review II
by Kevin Press
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "Black Swan" CD/LP/Track Review Black Swan
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 17, 2018