Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

4

Florian Ross Big Company: Ties & Loose Ends

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The late pitcher Satchel Paige once offered this sound advice: "Never look over your shoulder; someone may be gaining on you." Nowadays, those who seem to be gaining the most ground when it comes to big-band jazz are Europeans and Asians who've been listening closely to and learning from their peers in the States and using that knowledge to build a better mouse trap, so to speak. Composer / arranger Florian Ross, based in Cologne, Germany, had been writing and filing away big-band charts for almost twenty years before he decided to record some of the best of them, assembling a group of young musicians from Cologne to form Big Company and release a superb debut album, Ties & Loose Ends.

There are several good reasons for that title, which Ross fully explains in the liner notes. And while he's no one-man band (seventeen others are involved), Ross not only wrote eight of the album's eleven numbers and arranged everything, he also chose the musicians, produced the album, mixed and mastered its various tracks, designed the jacket cover and took the photographs that are displayed inside and out. One assumes he also swept the studio and turned out the lights afterward. As Ross loves classical and popular music as well as jazz, he has augmented his own compositions with luminous arrangements of Maurice Ravel's graphic prelude to "Le Tombeau de Couperin," Modest Mussorgsky's tranquil "Une Larme" and Victor Young's elegant standard from the Great American Songbook, "My Foolish Heart."

Ross's themes are by and large "earnest contemporary," comparable to music being written these days by the likes of Maria Schneider, Dave Cavanagh, Darcy James Argue, Carla Bley, Kenny Werner, Dave Chisholm and others. Nothing is amiss until track nine, "Eleanor," on which Ross employs an amplified and distorted voice to undergird the ensemble and Phillip Bramswig's guitar. Well-meant, no doubt, but largely incoherent and thus pointless. Alas, Stefan Schmid's squawking tenor solo only adds to the confusion. Elsewhere, matters are far more balanced and agreeable, starting with Ross's "Doors Closed" and continuing through "Cycling," "Running Walls," "Prickly Pear," Meditation in D," "Slow Motian" and "Rosa Cantina." Each of those essays is rewarding, with perceptive solos along the way by Schmid, soprano Frank Vaganee (who leads the splendid Brussels Jazz Orchestra), alto Christoph Mockel, tenor Wolfgang Fuhr, baritone Marcus Bartelt, trumpeters Matthias Bergmann and Menzel Mutzke, trombonists Klaus Heidenreich and Peter Schwatlo, pianist Lucas Leidinger and bassist Dietmar Fuhr. The rhythm section is dependable, albeit slightly under-recorded at times.

When all is played and done, not a bad start for someone who waited more than forty years to record his first big-band album. Surely, Ross must have enough fresh charts set aside for another album (or more).

Track Listing: Doors Closed; Tombeau de Couperin: Prelude; Cycling; Une Larme; Running Walls; Prickly Pear; Meditation in D; Slow Motian; Eleanor; Rosa Canina; My Foolish Heart.

Personnel: Florian Ross: leader, composer, arranger; Jan Schneider: trumpet; Volker Deglmann: trumpet; Menzel Mutzke: trumpet; Matthias Bergmann: trumpet; Frank Vaganee:alto, soprano sax; Christoph Mockel: alto sax; Stefan Schmid: tenor sax, clarinet; Wolfgang Fuhr: tenor sax; Marcus Bartelt: baritone sax; Klaus Heidenreich: trombone; Peter Schwatio: trombone; Felix Fromm: trombone; Ingo Lahme: trombone; Phillip Bramswig: guitar; Lucas Leidinger: piano; Dietmar Fuhr: bass; Fabian Arends: drums.

Title: Ties & Loose Ends | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Fuhrwerk Musik


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Bad Hombre CD/LP/Track Review Bad Hombre
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Aladdin's Dream CD/LP/Track Review Aladdin's Dream
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Glow of Benares CD/LP/Track Review Glow of Benares
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Magic Circle CD/LP/Track Review Magic Circle
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 12, 2017
Read A Gathering Foretold CD/LP/Track Review A Gathering Foretold
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Swinging In The Holidays CD/LP/Track Review Swinging In The Holidays
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Like, Strange" CD/LP/Track Review Like, Strange
by Troy Collins
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "I Believe In You" CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Territoires" CD/LP/Track Review Territoires
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 26, 2017
Read "The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure" CD/LP/Track Review The Hidden Notes - Spirit Of Adventure
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Parrots Paradise" CD/LP/Track Review Parrots Paradise
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People" CD/LP/Track Review This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: May 29, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!