204

The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra: WJO

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra: WJO
On its self-titled debut album, the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra offers the listener the best of two possible worlds—a thinking person's big band that also swings. There's a lot happening in these ten original compositions (including the two-part French-Canadian/Métis Suite), but the elaborate charts seldom interrupt the band's essential purpose, to present high-caliber music that is not only aesthetically pleasing but viscerally captivating as well.

Pianist Michelle Grégoire wrote the evocative Suite, as she did the almost-blues "Minor Alterations," while trombonist Jeff Presslaff composed "Having Met," "Nightflame" and the Gershwin-inspired and dirge-like "Something to Wash Over Me." Completing the bill of fare are two works ("Riff Raff Riff," "Europa") by trumpeter Richard Boughton and one each by saxophonist Ken Gold ("The Chomsky Moan") and vocalist Lianne Fournier ("Aphrodite," on which she also sings).

To me, the straight-on "Europa," encompassing inspired solos by flugel Boughton and tenor Brian Klowak and a superb intro by Grégoire, earns the blue ribbon, but the other charts are close behind, and there is certainly much to admire elsewhere, especially in Grégoire's trio of handsome arrangements; the Kentonesque "Having Met," shuffling "Riff Raff Riff" and impishly funky "Chomsky Moan." Boughton delivers another impressive flugel solo on "Having Met," while Greg Gatien is heard to good advantage on tenor ("Minor Alterations") and soprano ("Riff Raff Riff," "Nightflame," Part 1 of Suite Métis). Other soloists of note include Grégoire, Gold (baritone on "Chomsky Moan," tenor on Part 2 of Suite Métis), guitarist Ron Halldorson, bassist Gilles Fournier and bass trombonist D'Arcy McLean.

The charts are sharp and engaging, the ensemble snug and sturdy, and the WJO's debut album is a pleasure to hear.

Track Listing

Having Met; Minor Alterations; Riff Raff Riff; Aphrodite; Suite M

Personnel

Richard Gillis, artistic director, trumpet, flugelhorn; Greg Gatien, tenor, alto, soprano sax; Roger Mantie, alto, soprano sax, flute; Ken Gold, tenor, baritone sax, flute; Brian Klowak, tenor sax, flute; Paul Balcain, tenor sax, clarinet; Shane Nestruck, baritone sax; Jeff Johnson, Darren Ritchie, Richard Broughton, trumpet, flugelhorn; Jay Harrison, Jeff Presslaff, Steve Dyer, trombone; D

Album information

Title: WJO | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: WJO

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read The Rise Up
The Rise Up
Mehmet Ali Sanlikol
Read New York Moment
New York Moment
JC Hopkins Biggish Band
Read Pollinator
Pollinator
Matt Ulery
Read Hug!
Hug!
Matt Wilson Quartet
Read Touch & Go
Touch & Go
Susan Tobocman
Read The Ilkley Suite
The Ilkley Suite
Jamil Sheriff
Read Moving Through Worlds
Moving Through Worlds
Fiona Joy Hawkins

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.