All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Shapes: The Big Picture


Sign in to view read count
From its debut recording in 2002, this sextet has morphed into a much larger ensemble, in varied configurations, for this two-disc offering. Although two of its original members, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, were not present for the making of this album, The Big Picture includes performances by Russell Ferrante and Jimmy Haslip (associated with Yellowjackets), Robben Ford, Roy McCurdy, Mike Fahn, Matt Catingub, and Andy Suzuki.

In keeping with the cinematic concept, the album is structured into a two-disc package of Reel #1 and #2. The cover art depicts a drive-in theatre and this album is in effect some slyly played jazz-noire. Reel #1 might be looked upon as the appetizer and the musical cuisine could best be described as the high end of smooth jazz. It is devoid of the repetition of what that genre has come to mean to the general public. The tunes are all originals, save an interpretation of John Coltrane's "Naima." Many of these songs feature the chromatic harmonica of Tollak Ollestad, who effectively comes across as a soulful Toots Thielemans for the New Millennium. The presentation of these first six compositions is largely with a Latin or bossa overlay with the added attraction of arranger Roger Burn's vibes and piano work.

Reel #2 is the dinner that you've been waiting for. With essentially the same players, we are treated to a mainstream performance of seven more songs that will remind the listener of the GRP big band albums of the 1990s. "Softly, As In a Morning Sunrise" is a feature for guitarist Mike Higgins, and "Love For Sale" is another showcase for Ollestad's harmonica. Pauline Wilson, perhaps new to jazz vocals, provides an effective delivery of Rodgers and Hart's "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," following a cello rendering of the verse. Valve Trombonist Mike Fahn shines on several opportunities on Reel #2, as does reedman Andy Suzuki. Again, much of the success of this disc is the effectiveness of Roger Burn's playing and horn arrangements.

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


comments powered by Disqus

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

The Big Picture

Burnin' Down the House Records


Related Articles

Read Peaks of Light CD/LP/Track Review
Peaks of Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Denmark I Was Born CD/LP/Track Review
In Denmark I Was Born
by Gareth Thompson
Published: March 18, 2018
Read In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983 CD/LP/Track Review
In Copenhagen - Live at Jazzhus Slukefter 1983
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read A Year Ago Today CD/LP/Track Review
A Year Ago Today
by Doug Collette
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Dreams of Belonging CD/LP/Track Review
Dreams of Belonging
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 18, 2018
Read Ravensburg CD/LP/Track Review
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: March 17, 2018
Read "Nadje Noordhuis" CD/LP/Track Review Nadje Noordhuis
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: June 18, 2017
Read "A Woman's Journey" CD/LP/Track Review A Woman's Journey
by Jerome Wilson
Published: January 28, 2018
Read "Silent Voices" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Voices
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: August 4, 2017
Read "Return To Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Return To Mind
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 8, 2018
Read "Inland Sea" CD/LP/Track Review Inland Sea
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Radioactive Landscapes EP" CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017