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The Millennium Jazz Orchestra, which until last year was the Big Barchem Band, proves on its third recording (and second for A–Records) that a world–class ensemble by any other name swings as lustily and as often, thanks to bracing charts by conductor Joan Reinders, a welcome appearance on five selections by guest artist Philip Catherine, and remarkable interplay by the orchestra as a whole. Catherine, the superb Belgian guitarist who’d impressed the band at a concert in October ’99, is featured on Reinders’ curtain–raising three–movement suite, “Triangular,” whose common thread, according to its author, is “an intervallic relationship of a minor second and a major third.” Sounds good to me — and probably will to you as well, which is what really matters. Catherine, whose mostly single–note lines are invariably clean and tasteful, sounds as good on two of his own masterful compositions, “Arthur Rainbow” and “Merci Afrique,” while the orchestra cuts loose on five durable standards including one each by Cole Porter (“It’s All Right with Me”) and the Gershwins (“Soon”). Flugel Jan Wessels (definitely someone to keep an eye on) is featured on “Soon,” trombonist Jeroen Rol on “Alone Together,” pianist Rob Horsting on the ballad “When I Fall in Love,” vocalist Herman Nijkamp on “Crazy Moon.” Wessels (trumpet), tenor Gerlo Hesselink and drummer Martijn Vick are the soloists on “It’s All Right with Me,” and Hesselink (soprano) has more blowing room with Catherine on “Arthur Rainbow.” While the soloists are brash and resourceful, the orchestra is even more so, investing in each of Reinders’ charts a full meaure of dexterity and enthusiasm. In Deventer, Holland, at least, this Millennium clearly has made a spectacular beginning.
Contact:Challenge Record Services, P. O. Box 540, 6800 AM Arnhem, The Netherlands (www.challenge.nl).
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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