April 22nd, 2014, 4:00 pm by Sara
December 19th, 2013, 3:00 pm by Greg
Review by Eric Ciarmello
Photograph by Andrzej Pilarczyk
He walked like them, he dressed like them, he spoke like them. He stood in the lobby of the SCCC School of Music, chatting in a group of four or five, as if he had just come to see what this Empire Jazz Orchestra was all about. It wasn’t Dave Holland’s lack of presence that rendered him unnoticed, but his lack of ego.
The hall had all the buzz of a Broadway show. A 17-piece big band set-up sat vacant atop the stage of the auditorium, eagerly awaiting their musicians arrival. As the audience filed into their seats, Holland followed, eager to catch the first act of music.
Act 1, scene 1. The Empire Jazz Orchestra came out of the gates with a Gordon Goodwin arrangement of Miles Davis’ “Seven Steps to Heaven.” After a somewhat precarious start, Bob Halek, Otto Gardner and Cliff Brucker quickly snapped the horns back to attention. Halek dug the pocket out of his ride just deep enough for Brucker and Gardner to nestle in comfortably. From that point on, the intensity of the show rose exponentially.
Click to read the rest of the review at Albany Jazz.
Click to see more of Andzrej Pilarczyk’s photographs of the concert at Albany Jazz
Reviews by J Hunter
Having given credit where credit was due in our last episode… let’s count ’em down:
ETIENNE CHARLES – Creole Soul (Culture Shock Music)
Want some impressive numbers? This native son of Trinidad has four discs to his name, all on his own label – and he’s still in his 20s! Heeding the words of mentor Marcus Roberts that “going backwards is the only way to go forward,” Etienne Charles mixes the Afro-Caribbean beats of his native land with modern jazz idioms to create a set that makes you dance as much as it makes you think. Along with tasty originals like “Creole” and “Doin’ the Thing,” Charles re-shapes Monk’s “Green Chimneys” and Bo Diddley’s “You Don’t Love Me (no no no).” George Allen said, “The future is now” in the ’70s, but with young players like Charles on the scene, it’s jazz’s future that’s now!
ANTONIO SANCHEZ – New Life (CamJazz)
Many artists try to do too much on their first release as a leader, and it usually turns into a train wreck in short order. But Antonio Sanchez – a big-time sideman who’s visited Greater Nippertown with Pat Metheny and the New Gary Burton Quartet – threads the needle perfectly, serving up 8 superb originals that are just complex enough to make the brain bubble but not boil over. Next-level keyboardist John Escreet joins sax monsters David Binney and Donny McCaslin on the front line, and Sanchez teams with bassist Matt Brewer to drive this beautiful machine up and up and up. Maybe next time we see Sanchez in these parts, it’ll be with his own band.
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