Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Eclipsed by bebop's seismic shift toward small groups, battered by the free-blowing strategies of the avant garde and threatened with obsolescence by synthesizers, orchestral jazz has rebounded over the past decade in a st... more »
Eclipsed by bebop's seismic shift toward small groups, battered by the free-blowing strategies of the avant garde and threatened with obsolescence by synthesizers, orchestral jazz has rebounded over the past decade in a still modest but gratifying resurgence of serious, large ensemble recordings and renewed appreciation for past masters like the late Gil Evans. His legacy echoes reassuringly in the work of composer, arranger, and conductor Maria Schneider, whose New York-based orchestra has been a magnet for strong, young players eager for the disciplined sweep and power unique to richly voiced large groups. Her second album is a nuanced showcase for both musicians and leader, ranging from Latin rhythms on the opening "El Viento" to the centerpiece shape-shifting suite, "Scenes From Childhood." Schneider's tender explication of Alex North's "Love Theme from Spartacus" and an intelligent expansion of John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" underline both her ambition and her formidable skill. --Sam Sutherland
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Big Band Jazz at its best, with a strong sense of form.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What an achievement. Without exaggerating, I'd say that this is the world's most interesting Big Band of our time. While this music is not "revolutionary" in the sense of neglecting tradition no matter what the cost (Schneider seems to take more of an evolutionary approach, building on what she learnt form Gil Evans and others), it's certainly unique - both in its sense of form and in its musical substance. "Scenes From Childhood", one of the highlights of the album, is a typical example: A musical "movement" (in the classical sense of the word) which at the same time provides highly individual landscapes (or rooms, as Schneider puts it) for the soloists to develop their ideas. Furthermore, there is a strong tension between Schneider's becoming abstract/formal on the one hand and the strong emotional, concrete imagery remaining on the other. Jazz has been said to be one of the few original American artistic genres of the twentieth century, ! and Maria Schneider prooves that it is well and alive."
Big band music redefined
Joel Di Bartolo | Flagstaff, AZ United States | 05/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My name is Joel DiBartolo and was the bass player on the "Tonight Show starring Johny Carson" for almost 20 years. As you can imagine, I had the pleasure and often the dis-pleasure of playing big band arrangements (charts) for and by a wide variety of performers. Tommy Newsom and Bill Holman, amomg others, wrote many arrangements of both standard songs and original songs for the band. By the time the Carson version of the "Tonight Show" went off the air in May, 1992, I was convinced that writing music for a collection of 16 - 18 musicians had become passè. Hearing Maria Schneider's music changed my life.She is, wihtout a doubt, the best contemporary big band writer and arranger on the scene today."
One of the Best Ever
Dunbarton Oakes | 08/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In the last five years I've completely lost my patience for the pop music that is being released and made my way more fully into jazz. It's been an expensive experiment. Other than owning The Koln Concert since the days of vinyl I had to disect the labels of recordings I liked and hope that the individual players in a trio or quartet would keep the momentum going in their own work. So Jarrett led to Garbarek who led to Gismonte who led to Haden who led to Carla Bley and on and on.
It was Haden, Bley and Don Cherry, especially on Ballad of the Fallen, who peaked my interest in "big bands", a genre that I associated with a dated swing-music kind of sound. Then onto Dave Holland's Big Band which I didn't care for (until the excellent Overtime release) and Kenny Wheeler's fantastic Music for Large and Small Ensembles. That one convinced me to keep looking.
I had read about Maria Schneider's Concert in the Garden winning Downbeat everything awards and was surprised when Tower Records told me I would only be able to purchase it as a download (they were wrong for the time being). Having never heard Ms. Schneider's work, my enthusiasm cooled. Ironically, I happened to be in my local library when I found her previous recording, Coming Around. It is unlike aything I've heard in its beauty, complexity and originality. There is a classical influence that seems to move the music without sounding "classical" or ever dominating the jazz aspect. It is not easy to describe something as unique as Coming Around but any music fan should seek it out. It drove me to Ms. Schneider's website where I ordered Concert in the Garden but it is hard to believe it could be better."