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Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields

Budd Kopman By

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The singular achievement of Maria Schneider is to merge the particular with the universal: to use her very personal experiences and memories as grist for music which is aurally beautiful and deeply infused with love.

This love originates from Schneider the person and artist; it is amplified and returned by those directly involved in the creation of this work through the ArtistShare process (including those who commissioned "Arbiters of Evolution," "Home" and "Lembranca"); finally, it is received by listeners, both live and from the recording, closing the circle. Go here to get an idea of impact this music has live.

The Thompson Fields arrives nearly eight years after the wonderful Sky Blue and significantly, with the personnel of the Orchestra, especially the soloists, barely changing.

Schneider's music is viscerally sumptuous, almost tactile and very rich with shimmering colors created by expertly mixing the various timbres from the bottom to the top. However, within this dense complex of shifting overtones, her music has a direct simplicity that allows it to be easily understood. The production values of the physical CD is also very high and it is a joy to hold and to read.

Because of the stability of her personnel, Schneider can write specifically for those musicians whose personality and sound she knows and desires. The solo sections arrive seamlessly within the body of each piece, and Schneider trusts these musicians to fully be themselves as they play to and for the particular piece at hand.

There is so much wonderful playing that it is difficult to not mention them all, but Scott Robinson ("Walking by Flashlight"), Donny McCaslin ("Arbiters of Evolution"), Frank Kimbrough ("The Thompson Fields"), Rich Perry ("Home") and Gary Versace ("A Potter's Song") are standouts.

The Thompson Fields is music in which to revel and which makes one grateful to be alive.

Bravo!

Track Listing: Walking By Flashlight; The Monarch And The Milkweed; Arbiters Of Evolution; The Thompson Fields; Home; Nimbus; A Potter's Song; Lembranca.

Personnel: Steve Wilson: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute, alto flute; Dave Pietro: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute, alto flute, bass flute, piccolo; Rich Perry: tenor saxophone; Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone, clarinet, flute; Scott Robinson: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, alto clarinet, clarinet; Tony Kadleck: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Greg Gisbert: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Augie Haas: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Mike Rodriguez: trumpet, fluegelhorn; Keith O'Quinn,: trombone; Ryan Keberle: trombone; Marshall Gilkes: trombone; George Flynn: bass trombone; Gary Versace: accordion; Lage Lund: guitar; Frank Kimbrough: piano; Rogerio Boccato: percussion (8); Clarence Penn: drums; Jay Anderson: bass.

Title: The Thompson Fields | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: ArtistShare

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