Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|The Nuclear Whales Saxophone Orchestra|
Thar They Blow
Genres: Jazz, Miscellaneous, Pop, Classical
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J. G. Heiser | Sunninghill, Berks | 09/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you only have one saxophone ensemble CD, it should be from the Whales. And if you don't like saxophone, buy this anyways--you will still like it. Good music is music that sounds good, right?This CD starts, appropriately enough, with a fanfare (Fanfare for the Common Man), which makes great use of the soprano lead. The lower voices are gradually layered in, but they don't bring out all the horns until the second track, which rotates the leads among all the players, including Don Stevens on the Contrabass.To put it mildly, the Contrabass sax is more than a bit unusual, and there are only a few in existence. Stevens' horn was fortuitously discovered in a New Jersey warehouse just before demolition. The difference between a more standard quartet and this orchestra is the addition of 50% more players and additional voices. The Whales always supplemented the standard 4 saxes (soprano, alto, tenor, and bari) with sopranino and bass. Adding the contrabsss makes this pure magic. Nobody can listen to a contrabass sax without cracking a smile.I'm a sucker for Ellington, so when it is played by a talented group of musicians like this--especially a sax ensemble--its irresistable to me. The Ellington medley is exquisite, with a tearful interpretation of "Come Sunday" immediately followed by a novel rendition of "Caravan." The contrabass totally rocks on "Casbah Shuffle". That thing just kind of thwops-it is almost percussive, which makes a great effect in conjunction with the tabla (the Indian drum that goes `dweep, dweep, dweep') and tam tam. With a soprano lead, it has a real Don Ellis "Electric Bath" kind of feel. This is fun stuff-I can't imagine anyone not liking this.No group located in a tree-hugging locale like Santa Cruz, CA would name themselves Nuclear Whales if they didn't have a sense of humor, but a novelty number like "Shuffle" is immediately followed by a completely serious number, "New York City Ghost," which is so haunting it gives me goose bumps. Interestingly, they don't identify the soloists, and I'm not sure which of the 3 soprano-players does the lead in this one. For the most part, they arrange their own stuff, but this one is arranged by Lennie Niehaus.Back to another upbeat number; "Sweet Georgia Brown" must have been written with the saxophone in mind. This is the thwoppiest chart for the contrabass. It's followed by an original vocal piece by baritonist Ann Merrell called "Mold, Mold" that would be perfect for some of the Louis Jordan-inspired swing bands that were popular a couple years back.The rest of the album is more of the same, alternating grit, swing & jazz with Richard Strauss and Louis Gottschalk. This group can play anything, and it sounds great."
Much Larger Than Whales!!
J. G. Heiser | 04/07/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Folks, this is simply ensemble sax at it's finest! It don't get much better! Being a lover of Bass Sax, the Contrabass only added more musical jucies to my ears and pulled untold watts from my system! UNBELIEVABLE arrangements! GENIUS! More genius are the artists! You have no idea what takes as a musician to get to this plateau, and beyond that, get THIS many together as a group and WHALE away!The NW are the Canadian Brass, only with reeds! And MORE! A MUST if you are an audiophile! If you are a reed player, you already own it. If not, GET IT!From Dixieland to Classical and everything inbetween, they have it all. The campiness of various tunes exude artististic virtuosity and push the creative envelope! You MUST hear this on a high end system as I have. Bozak 310-B Concert Masters do very fine with this range of frequences. (28 cycles required--minimum, to hear it all!).CRANK IT! You will feel things you never felt before! The arrangements are spectacular!!!A VERY good HIGH quality recording. No limiters or balonery! Just a PURE sound without distortion.I can't say enough. Simply the best stuff I have heard in YEARS! I'm in Milwaukee. If you are near or get by here, look me up and HEAR this correctly! That's how strongly I feel about the Nuclear Whales! Simply a joy and acts as auricle viagra! Greg KalkhoffCall me: 1-414-447-7500 Let's talk Whales!You will NOT be dissapointed!"