146

Randy Sandke and the Metatonal Band: The Mystic Trumpeter

By

Sign in to view read count
Randy Sandke and the Metatonal Band: The Mystic Trumpeter Trumpeter and composer Randy Sandke has recorded 22 albums as a leader since 1985 and has appeared on countless others in largely a mainstream and postwar swing setting, and of late he has dabbled in outside jazz. The Mystic Trumpeter may be Sandke's most ambitious effort to date. The album is presented as "metatonal" music, which is a term that Sandke uses to describe how his compositions use harmonies that are derived in a way that hasn't yet been integrated into jazz.

The album presents two lengthy pieces: "The Mystical Trumpeter," a multi-part composition that was inspired by a poem by Walt Whitman; and "Symphony For Six," a classical selection that uses jazz instrumentation and performance. Sandke's Metatonal Band is a quintet consisting of the trumpeter plus reed player Scott Robinson, pianist Ted Rosenthal, bassist Greg Cohen, and drummer Dennis Mackrel. Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon joins them on "Symphony For Six."

Each section of the six-part "The Mystic Trumpeter" is subtitled by a phrase from the Whitman poem, such as "Sounds of Smiting Steel" or "The Flames That Heat The World." Sandke has performed this piece twice before in New York with different personnel but has not recorded it until now. The Metatonal Band performs this music using the vocabulary of bebop and cutting-edge jazz, particularly via Robinson's tenor sax and Rosenthal's piano, as well as Sandke's own trumpet.

"Symphony For Six" was also composed in 1995 and performed in New York with different personnel; here, a jazz sextet follows the formal outlines of a classical symphony. After listening, I began to think about how well any radical changes in jazz structure in the past have stood up historically, and in particular, the 1950s work of George Russell's Lydian Theory, as well as the late-'50s Third Stream movement. In recent years, I've read how Miles Davis' thinking regarding his Kind Of Blue session paid heed to Russell (as well as several other non-jazz artists). Reading the liner notes of a Hal McKusick reissue last year, I was surprised by the altoist's devotion to the music of Russell, as well as many mainsteam players of that era.

This is not an easy album to listen to, given its complex arrangements and the frequently changing pace of the compositions. The biggest question for untrained listeners (like myself) is whether they will like it or not. My conclusion is that this is important enough a work for repeated listening.


Track Listing: The Mystic Trumpeter (Liquid Prelude, The Walks of Paradise, Sounds of Smiting Steel, The Flames That Heal The World, Distant Thunder, Enough To Merely Be); Symphony For Six (Allegro, Adagio, Scherzo, Rondo).

Personnel: Randy Sandke: trumpet and flugelhorn; Scott Robinson: tenor and soprano sax, bass flute; Wycliffe Gordon: trombone (on Symphony For Six); Ted Rosenthal: piano; Greg Cohen:bass; Dennis Mackrel: drums and percussion.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Evening Star Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Westering Home" CD/LP/Track Review Westering Home
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 7, 2016
Read "The Wild" CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "The Long Road" CD/LP/Track Review The Long Road
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 30, 2016
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 29, 2016
Read "Free for One" CD/LP/Track Review Free for One
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 31, 2016
Read "Second Stream" CD/LP/Track Review Second Stream
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 26, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

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!