The compelling debut of Canadian-born, New York-based reed man and self-taught composer Rob Mosher is a thematic composition for his 10-piece ensemble Storytime. Using Storytime, featuring young composers and reed men Sam Sadigursky and Peter Hess, Mosher succeeds in orchestrating vividly sophisticated, highly melodic suite-like musical stories. These cinematic narratives reflect Mosher's diverse influences, ranging from Claude Debussy and Kurt Weill to Gil Evans and Wayne Shorter, while still bearing his singular compositional voice. The title represents Mosher's method of working, taking his time and following his myriad of ideas to completion.
The opener, "On A Clear Day," in addition to other short pieces on The Tortoise, suggests a Weill-esque playful jazz romp, but equally the lush orchestration owes much to Gil Evans. Mosher's chamber-like arrangements embrace the beautiful storytelling lines of flugelhornist Micah Killion while leaving enough room for other members of the ensemble to explore its theme and shine around him. Mosher follows with the light-hearted Latin-flavored "The Sands Of Maundune," featuring a breezy guitar solo from Nir Felder, while on " Sleepless Lullaby" he offers a beautiful wind arrangement that encompasses a moving duet between bassist Garth Stevenson's arco and Felder's acoustic guitar. "Jupiter" possesses a complex, multi-layered texture that references the modernist post-bop compositions of Shorter, with Mosher's assured playing on soprano sax.
"Twilight" was inspired by a walk in Central Park and features Felder's atmospheric Hawaiian slide guitar, surfing through a graceful and rich arrangement that offers a visual and colorful narrative of that walk. "Silhouette of the Man in the Fog" retains the same visual vein, with a film noir-esque touch and expressive solos from Mosher on English horn and Brian Landrus on baritone sax. "March Of The Elephants" again shows Mosher's masterful and nuanced impressionist chamber wind arrangement, highlighting the clear voices of trombonist Michael Fahie, Sadigursky on flute, Mosher on oboe and Hess on clarinet. "The Forgotten" is a vehicle for Hess' extended tenor sax solo, delivered over the ensemble's detailed performance. "Farewell, Goodbye" is a gentle and beautiful closer to this series of cinematic suites.
Mosher is a gifted composer who offers a fresh and updated approach to the innovations of the Third Stream. His ensemble is a force to be reckoned with, and Mosher intends a follow-up with an extended group that will add banjo, violin, cello tuba and operatic baritone to Storytime's already rich palette.
Track Listing: On a Clear Day; The Sands of Maundune; Sleepless Lullaby; Jupiter; What Snowflakes Are Plotting; Twilight; Silhouette of the Man in the Fog; The Tall Tales of Todd Toven; March of the Elephants; Joy; The Forgotten; 1920's Car Chase; Farewell, Goodbye.
Personnel: Rob Mosher: soprano saxophone, oboe, English horn; Sam Sadigursky: flute, piccolo, clarinet, alto saxophone; Peter Hess: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Brian Landrus: bass clarinet, baritone saxophone; Micah Killion: trumpet, flugelhorn; Rachel Drehmann: French horn; Michael Fahie: trombone; Nir Felder: acoustic and electric guitar; Garth Stevenson: acoustic bass; Ziv Ravitz: drums and percussion.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.