146

Randy Sandke and the Metatonal Band: The Mystic Trumpeter

By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: The Mystic Trumpeter | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Evening Star Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Cornua Copiae" CD/LP/Track Review Cornua Copiae
by John Sharpe
Published: December 15, 2016
Read "EE-YA-GI (Stories)" CD/LP/Track Review EE-YA-GI (Stories)
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 19, 2017
Read "Afro-Caribbean Mixtape" CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read "Soul Garden" CD/LP/Track Review Soul Garden
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 29, 2017
Read "Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere" CD/LP/Track Review Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere
by Mike Jacobs
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "Dare To Be" CD/LP/Track Review Dare To Be
by David A. Orthmann
Published: December 15, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.