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Colin Stranahan: Transformation

Jim Santella By

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Dramatic modern mainstream jazz pours forth from Colin Stranahan's dynamic quintet, with exotic melodic stanzas flowing in many directions at once. His cohesive band interprets this program of originals directly with a positive force. It's a composer's forum. Saxophonist Remy Le Boeuf contributed three pieces and his eighteen-year-old twin brother, pianist Pascal Le Boeuf, contributed two. Bassist Dominic Thiroux contributed two, and the leader contributed two more. Colin's father, Jim, who plays alto on his contribution, wrote "It's Not Always About You.

Most of the program drives with an intense presence that features one or more horns. This is an ensemble affair. The members of Stranahan's organization work together all of the time, tending to support each other fully on solo sections. Trumpeter Greg Gisbert lends a graceful, yet subtle presence to the program for several selections. Vibraphonist Mark Clifford gives "Out of Reach a gentle harmonic flavor that allows its overlapping layers to spread wide.

At the drums, Stranahan prefers to lead from the back of the room. His band works as a collective unit, merging its instrumental voices into a whole. The leader peppers selected phrases with a variety of percussive textures, but he remains at arm's length most of the time.

His "Moods of Perpetual Motion drives as strongly as the rest of the program, but closes the session with a flurry of activity buoyed by individual solo sections. Periods of relaxed ease alternate with driven majesty as the ensemble fights to keep its momentum going strong. The music ebbs and flows in a natural progression. Stranahan's Transformation focuses on a collective ensemble voice over individual expression.


Track Listing: Song for Briana #3; Casa Zimbabwe; You Are; Piece of Mind; The Search; No thanks; Sisyfus; Out of Reach; It's Not Always About You; Moods of Perceptual Motion.

Personnel: Colin Stranahn: drums; Michael Bailey: tenor sax; Remy Le Boeuf: tenor and alto saxes, flute; Pascal Le Boeuf: piano; Dominic Thiroux: bass; Special guests: Jim Stranahan: alto sax (9); Greg Gisbert: trumpet; Mark Clifford: vibes.

Title: Transformation | Year Released: 2006

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