Gravity & Chaos
Song - Artist -
DECK THE HALLS WITH BOOGIE WOOGIE - KATIE WEBSTER -
Recorded in New York, NY (February 1955)
Clifford Brown- trumpet
Max Roach- drums
Harold Land- tenor sax
Richie Powell- piano
George Morrow- double bass
There were a lot of interesting reinventions in jazz contexts in the album that would certainly strike the average listener as unconventional (in a good way). Right away, the track "Cherokee" takes rhythms and melodies traditional to the Cherokee people and reinvents them in a jazz context.
Their take on "Take the 'A' Train" also includes a gesture that mimics a train approaching at the beginning, which is a more literal take on the "train" idea. The gesture includes the drums playing a cymbal rhythm that mimics the chugging of the train, over which the trumpet and tenor sax play harmony and bend their note to imitate the whistle.
The instrumentation remains constant throughout the album, so you're always guaranteed a two-horn with rhythm section timbre with trumpet and tenor sax. This is not a complaint, I rather enjoy the duo of tenor sax and trumpet (I play tenor sax and had a friend in high school who played trumpet, so maybe I'm biased), but merely an observation. Much like the Basie album from last week, the solos were kept fairly short and structural and the songs all fit within a "radio-friendly length," making this a great pick for radio DJ's, which given its date of production is likely on purpose. The album is fairly palatable, so if you're looking for more Jazz for your spare time or social gatherings, give Study in Brown a try!
Recorded in 2006/2007
Ralph Lalama- flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone
Dick Oatts- flute, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone
Billy Drewes- flute, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone
Rich Perry- flute, tenor saxophone
Gary Smulyan- bass clarinet, baritone saxophone
Nick Marchione- trumpet, flugelhorn
Greg Gisbert- trumpet, flugelhorn
Scott Wendholt- trumpet, flugelhorn
Frank Greene- trumpet, flugelhorn
Luis Bonilla- trombone
John Mosca- trombone
Jason Jackson- trombone
Douglas Purviance- bass trombone
Jim McNeely- piano
Dennis Irwin- bass
John Riley- drums
As per usual, the Vanguard Orchestra delivers on its tried-and-true big band sound. Whereas a few weeks back I reviewed their album of Thad Jones' music, on this album they are playing the music of their pianist Jim McNeely. This album is, in general, more laid back than the other album, which had many more points of high intensity.
The lengths of songs in this album stray to the longer side (8-10 minutes per song on average), some of the solos meander a little more than usual over ensemble accompaniments which accounts for this length. Although it's not a traditionally radio-friendly length, it still has on-air potential due to its constant interest generated by changing timbres/harmonies.
In fact, this album also houses a great deal of well-rounded timbres and intriguing harmonies and harmonic shifts and is worth a listen for any "jazz explorer" out there who wants a new soundscape to lose themselves in.