Song - Artist - Album
Calvary - Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails
Music for Large and Small Ensembles
Recorded at CTS Studio in London, England and Rainbow Studio in Oslo, Norway (Jan/Feb 1990)
Kenny Wheeler- Fluegelhorn, Trumpet
John Abercrombie- Guitar
John Taylor- Piano
Dave Holland- Bass
Drums- Peter Erskine
Norma Winstone- Vocal
Derek Watkins- Trumpet
Henry Lowther- Trumpet
Alan Downey- Trumpet
Ian Hamer- Trumpet
Dave Horler- Trombone
Chris Pyne- Trombone
Paul Rutherford- Trombone
Hugh Fraser- Trombone
Ray Warleigh- Alto Saxophone
Duncan Lamont- Tenor Saxophone
Evan Parker- Soprano and Tenor Saxophone
Julian Argüelles- Baritone Saxophone
Stan Sulzman- Tenor Saxophone, Flute
What struck me immediately was the ebb and flow of colors in the first track. I was hooked as soon as it started. The use of soprano sax blooming into a female vocalist was brilliant, it sounded as though Winstone's voice blossomed out of the aesthetic garden.
The use of vocals remained an interesting component of the album. There were contexts where she was a background color, others where she sang a melody without words, and yet others where she sang melodies with words.
Whereas many might associate jazz vocals with frantic scatting, Winstone was anything but that. Her clarity of tone remained relaxed and added a somewhat ethereal element to the atmosphere.
There was a bit of freeform noodling that caught my attention on "Sea Lady" which felt like a bit of departure from most of the rest of the album (though track 7 of disc one had hints of it), but it later became apparent that it was meant to be a "sea" ambience, out of which the ensemble emerged, and the sea lady (Winstone) sang.
There were some neat piano and drum duets on this disc as well, it seemed that the drums played off of the piano pretty well. While "By Myself" was not a solo piece, it was a piece filled with solos, which was an interesting play on words.
This two-disc set provides great tracks for both large and small ensembles, as the title suggests. If you are intrigued by evolving colors but don't want to miss out on your fill of improvisation, this set brings the best of both worlds together, and is definitely recommended. The tracks stray a bit longer than most radio shows will broadcast, but if you're more freeform with your show this might fit into your format.