Arranging for nonet is a lot like arranging for big band. You’ve got all the elements, but you miss out on the doubling. Instead of power and some anonymous hard blowing, you get a balanced approach that swings lightly and caresses each melody. Jim Cifelli’s nonet arrangements are patterned after those of big band leaders Gil Evans, Thad Jones and Oliver Nelson. Every voice matters. The keenly crafted charts allow you to understand what the alto flute is doing while the tenor saxophone and trombone hold court. Cifelli’s handpicked line-up has been together for a considerable time. Each artist fits his contribution into the whole sound properly. The result is almost too clean.
However, by featuring improvised solos throughout, Cifelli achieves the goal of every bandleader: get it right, but let it swing. Both individual and ensemble positions fare well. The leader takes frequent solos, as do tenor saxophone, guitar, trombone, alto sax, baritone sax, drums, and upright bass. Cifelli’s title track seems to inherit the impressions of driving in New York without getting all wrapped up in rush hour traffic. Like “Milestones,” the piece takes you on a long drive past cool landscapes over hot pavement. Solos from Cifelli, Lyons, Frahm and Horner pass the baton from one to the next. The end of the tunnel looms ahead, however, and each soloist trades fours in encouragement. They reach their destination as the sun sets, and Cifelli offers a solemn “Prayer” with pure, baroque harmonic support from his nonet. Highly recommended. Check out audio samples at www.jazznonet.com .
Go, Something She Said, Fe Fi Fo Fum/Speak No Evil,Cajun Conniption,
Cambia de Corazone, What is This Thing Called Love, Tunnel Vision,
Andy Gravish, Jim Cifelli, trumpets; Pete McGuiness, trombone; Cliff
Lyons, alto and soprano saxes; Joel Frahm, tenor sax; Barbara Cifelli,
reeds; Peter McCann, guitar; Mary Ann McSweeney, bass, Tim Horner,
Since 1995, shortly after the dawn of the internet, All About Jazz has been a champion of jazz, supporting it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to rigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.