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.

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


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends CD/LP/Track Review Albert Mangelsdorff And His Friends
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Heaven On Their Minds CD/LP/Track Review Heaven On Their Minds
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Unnatural  Events CD/LP/Track Review Unnatural Events
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Rediscovered Ellington CD/LP/Track Review Rediscovered Ellington
by James Nadal
Published: August 16, 2017
Read Clean CD/LP/Track Review Clean
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 15, 2017
Read Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations CD/LP/Track Review Expedition: Duo Electro-Acoustic Improvisations
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 15, 2017
Read "The Stone House" CD/LP/Track Review The Stone House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming" CD/LP/Track Review I Go Back Home: A Story About Hoping And Dreaming
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 21, 2016
Read "Irmãos De Fé" CD/LP/Track Review Irmãos De Fé
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 6, 2017
Read "Live at the Blue Whale" CD/LP/Track Review Live at the Blue Whale
by Phillip Woolever
Published: May 9, 2017
Read "Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)" CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Sooner And Later" CD/LP/Track Review Sooner And Later
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 4, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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