Exceptional brilliance, diminished by poor audio
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Gunther Schuller, Rennaissance Man and of American music and authority on early jazz, remains a well-kept secret to many jazz listeners, I suspect. That is a needless shame. It may stem largely from his lengthy tenure in the academic realm and a relative dearth of tangible, available jazz output. With so few albums available, one is understandably tempted. His classical, jazz and Third Stream blends of the two idioms, stir the imagination as well as the spirit. This is a concert recording, not a studio effort, and that's the problem here.The audio imperfections (extremely low levels, with whole sections of the band/orchestra so poorly mic'd as to be barely audible--and at times inadible) reflect sonic incompetence! Those who are enthusiastic followers of Gunther's oeuvre may still want to have this, despite the technical inadequacies. Schuller's work as a composer and arranger is rarely equaled or exceeded, but I do question the wisdom of releasing this music under circumstances which compromise our ability to enjoy it to the fullest. Strictly on a sonic level, a disappointment. Musically, just the opposite, so this is a tough call..."