167

Rob Reddy's Small Town: The Book of the Storm

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Rob Reddy's Small Town: The Book of the Storm Multi-instrumentalist and composer Rob Reddy premiers his most ambitious work to date with The Book of the Storm, a jazz symphony in four movements. The premiere of his large ensemble, the aptly titled Small Town, is not only his first official live recording, but his debut as a conductor.

Similar to contemporary classical composers, Reddy's writing method has long embraced improvisation as an additional element to his intricate pre-written compositions. Rather than using charts and notation as the supporting framework for solo improvisation, Reddy balances pre-written forms and thematic improvisation in equal measure.

Expanding this concept to involve a nineteen-piece ensemble, Reddy employs a number of proficient soloists to interact with the pre-written material. Featuring a who's-who of New York talent, Small Town is a versatile and powerful ensemble. With multiple reeds, brass, a string quartet, a pair of electric guitarists and two drummers, Small Town certainly earns its name.

Recorded live at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York, The Book of the Storm continues Reddy's long-standing interest in spirituals, gospel, blues and folk music. "Spacious Skies/Faithless Bells" opens with atmospheric guitar feedback wafting over churning polyphonic percussion, and a circuitous spiral of contrapuntal horns. Building momentum like the proverbial rising storm, it climaxes with a mosaic of expressive horns and strings that elevates guitarist Brandon Ross' searing fretwork.

Using polyphony, unconventional rhythms in odd meters, orchestral hockets and layered counterpoint, a regal sensibility permeates this long-form work. This is serious music, not without moments of levity, but far removed from the transient nature of the marketplace. Following Reddy's conduction with petulant energy, the massed ensemble moves with monolithic force, drifting like tectonic plates composed of pure sound.

While Reddy's rich, evocative ensemble writing is the primary focus, a number of soloists stand out. Electric violinist Charles Burnham dominates the episodic "God Damn" with expansive lyricism. Stalwart bassist Dom Richards' meditative solo feature at the conclusion of "Faithless Bells" provides respite to John Carlson's blazing trumpet feature on the same piece. Jon Margulies' blistering guitar solo on the roiling "Fool's March" and Mark Taylor's haunting French horn statements on "Amongst The Ruins" are additional highlights.

Closing with the powerful "Amongst The Ruins," a somber meditation filled with low brass and languorous martial drumming, the ensemble drifts away into the ether as the drums fall silent.

Dense and uncompromising, yet accessible and infinitely rewarding, The Book of the Storm is Reddy's most fully realized work yet, a high water mark in an ever expanding discography.


Track Listing: Spacious Skies/Faithless Bells; God Damn; Fool's March; Amongst The Ruins.

Personnel: Rob Reddy: composer and conductor; Oscar Noriega: clarinet and bass clarinet; Steve Elson: flute and soprano saxophone; Cochemea Gastelum: alto saxophone; Tim Otto: soprano and tenor saxophones; Lisa Parrott: soprano and baritone saxophones; John Carlson: trumpet; Bob Scarpulla: trumpet; Mark Taylor: French horn; Lis Rubbard: French horn; Curtis Hasselbring: trombone; Charles Burnham: violin; Sarah Bernstein: violin; Marlene Rice: viola; Mary Wooten: cello; Dom Richards: double bass; Brandon Ross: acoustic and electric guitars; Jon Margulies: electric guitar; Pheeroan akLaff: drums; Guillermo E. Brown: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Reddy Music | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Flawless Dust" CD/LP/Track Review Flawless Dust
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 20, 2016
Read "Groove Legacy" CD/LP/Track Review Groove Legacy
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "From the Heart" CD/LP/Track Review From the Heart
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: December 20, 2016
Read "Lost at Last" CD/LP/Track Review Lost at Last
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 10, 2016
Read "All My Treasures" CD/LP/Track Review All My Treasures
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: May 20, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!