Albeit a microcosmic view of the current New York jazz scene, the music and musicians on this double CD display a vivid representation of the artistry, vision, and intent of the Fresh Sound New Talent label, which celebrated its tenth anniversary. Recorded in four hectic days in the fall of 2003, the project showcases eight contemporary music composers directing a newly formed "New Talent Jazz Orchestra"? made up of more than forty musicians with names like Ben Monder (guitar), Miguel Zenon (saxophone), and Magali Souraiu and Guillermo Klein (composers). The result is an exhilarating display of a large modern jazz ensemble with a sharp sense of creativity, energy and identity.
The music is divided into one CD of new and original material and a second featuring fresh arrangements of standards and previously recorded works. The musical ideas are as vast as the composers and musicians themselvesfrom the smooth flow of Jason Linder's "A Meditation on Two Chords,"? with sultry vocals by Claudia Acuña, to the carnivalesque atmosphere of Frank Carlberg's "Heaven,"? with a theme centered around a poem by Robert Creeley. At various points the recording has a chameleon-like effect that changes to fit each composer's visionsometimes poignant, hard-swinging, hip, or quirky; yet always interesting.
The orchestra is in top form and brings each composition to fruition with powerful and intuitive musicianship, both collectively and individually. The "Arrangements"? disc is even more stirring as lush horns and tight rhythms surround pieces like Pablo Ablanedo's version of "Me Voy Quedondo"? and innovative interpretations of selections by George Gershwin, Wayne Shorter, Ahmad Jamal, and Maurice Ravel. The unique closing arrangement of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps"? could nicely sum up a small glimpse of New York's jazz underground by remembering the past but always looking forwardwhich is exactly what the record label is all about.
The companion DVD is the frosting on this cake, offering short clips and comments by the composers, artists and a few of the many people who worked diligently behind the scenes in creating this project.
Track Listing: CD1: Originals.
1. A Meditation on Two Chords;
3. Petite Promenade;
4. Number Nine;
5. Jumbo-Buen D?-a D?-a;
7. El Acecho;
1. Me Voy Quedando;
4. Witch Hunt;
6. Ahmad Ravel-Au Clair de la Lune;
7. I Got Rhythm;
8. Giant Steps.
Personnel: Taylor Haskins, Diego Urcola, Richard Nant - trumpet, fluggelhorn;
Phil Grenadier, Avishai Cohen, Russ Johnson - trumpet;
Avi Lebovich, Sandro Tomasi, Alan Ferber, Max Siegel, Dana Leong - trombone;
Jamie Baum, Helen Richman - flute;
Anat Cohen, Miguel Zenon, Jaleel Shaw, Chris Cheek, Jason Hunter, Andrew Rathbun,
Bill McHenry, Marcus Strickland, Eli Degibri, Jimmy Greene, Adam Kolker, Chris Karlic, Frank Basile - saxes;
Magali Souriau, Frank Carlberg, Aaron Goldberg - piano;
Jason Lindner, Guillermo Klein - piano, Fender Rhodes;
Jorge Rossy - Fender Rhodes;
Ben Monder - electric guitar;
Matt Pavolka, Matt Penman, John Hebert - doublebass;
Brandon Owens, Fernando Huergo - electric bass;
Jeff Hirshfield, Mark Ferber - drums;
Jeff Ballard, Jorge Rossy - drums & percussion;
Franco Pinna - drums & bombo leg