The Vinny Golia Large Ensemble: 20th Anniversary Concert

Rex  Butters BY

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The Vinny Golia Large Ensemble
20th Anniversary Concert
Nine Winds

Vinny Golia continues to make history in Los Angeles with the release of this DVD, the first on his Nine Winds label. Shot on three cameras with excellent sound recording, the program features a good look at 36 of the West Coast's most gifted musicians laying it on the line. Alex Cline, Sara Schoenbeck, Jeff Kaiser, Jeff Gauthier, Jason Mears, Mike Vlatkovich... the list goes on and on. Fortunately, so does the ensemble. The lively and challenging scores shift in mood, raining unexpected colors over unexpected scoring shifts. Extras include interviews with different generations of Large Ensemble veterans offering revealing insights into Golia's compositional style and the group's evolution.

The six pieces seamlessly segue in a suite-like fashion. Much of the musical language on this outing seems jazz-based, and despite the sheer size of the group, fluidity and grace win out over density. On "Section B Version 2," Andrew Pask's blistering clarinet solo catches Schoenbeck clearly digging the sound. Gauthier delivers a heart grabbing interlude. John Fumo takes his trumpet off the map, then returns by way of bebop. 'Bone geniuses Bruce Fowler and Vlatkovich play very different solos. Ed Harkins' unique double belled trumpet essays a rare vision on "Raincheck for Revolution."

By "One for Benny," Golia begins blasting away on the tubax in duet with Phil Teele's bass trombone. Wayne Peet's fluid organ signals "The Long Short Nite," his sensual solo preceding a strongly sketched ensemble section skillfully employing the string section. Kaiser blows hard with no camera time. Scot Ray keeps the fire hot in the trombone section. Rob Blakeslee cools things off on trumpet preceding a scored sideways swing section. Bill Plake roughly plays through a straight-ahead segment that jumps the tracks.

Bruce Fowler summarized, "I think he got yelled at a lot by guys telling him that certain things are not playable by people. At first, he didn't even think about that, which I kind of had to respect in a certain way. Because we would figure out a way to play that music and make it make sense, sort of. But it wouldn't be the exact thing that he wrote, because that's actually impossible." This 20th Anniversary Concert DVD celebrates Golia's penchant for actualizing the impossible and acknowledges the many gifted artists collaborating on the quest.

Tracks: Section B version 2; Raincheck for the Revolution; The Long Short Nite; One for Bennie; Goody Two Shoes & The Filthy Beast; History in Jakarta 2053, See You There...

Personnel: Eric Barber; Rob Blakeslee; Jessica Catron; Daphne Chen; Alex Cline; Brad Dutz; Bruce Fowler; John Fumo; Jeff Gauthier; Ludvig Girdland; Vinny Golia; Ed Harkins; Ivan Johnson; Jeff Kaiser; Ronit Kirchman; Alan Lechusza; Marc Lowenstein; Devin Maxwell; Joe McNally; Guenevere Meascham; Jason Mears; George McMullen; Hal Onserud; Wayne Peet; Andrew Pask; Bill Plake; Scot Ray; Kim Richmond; Bill Roper; Jennifer Roth; Eric Sbar; Sara Schoenbeck; Jonathan Stenney; Phil Teele; Michael Vlatkovich; Rob Zimmerman.

Extras: Interviews with members of The Vinny Golia Large Ensemble (50 minutes); Rehearsal footage (10 minutes); slide show.

Production Notes: Recorded March 15, 2002 at Walt Disney Modular Theater, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California.

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