University of Miami Concert Jazz Band: Romances (2004)
Big band music of this ilk is orchestral by nature. It is not strictly blues-motivated, as was much of Ellington or Basie’s music. The majority of recent big band (all post-Kenton) compositions have been of colors and shades. While the idea of swing is present, it is not mandatory for the music, as this type of composition is more about shadows and light rather than motion or kinesis. Horace Silver’s "Gregory is Here" exemplifies this with respect to its score being complex and demanding for performance but not for listening. While not completely digested, this music is immediately appealing.
Ms. Schneider’s Three Romances are beautifully composed and rendered here by the big band. The first Romance, "Choro Dancado," is Brazilian in personality and features Mark Rose’s tenor saxophone and James Gasior’s piano. There is a heady soundtrack quality of the piece, a quality of celebration and honor. The Second Romance, "Pas De Deux," takes on a French patois, more introspective and impressionistic than the previous. Peter Clagett’s trumpet is highlighted, as is Kevin Russell’s refined soprano saxophone. "Dance Ilusoria" returns to the Latin realm as a foxtrot that waxes and wanes over the trains of a Portuguese melody. A fine big band offering, this time Stateside.
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Track Listing: Lately; Gregory is Here; Invitation; Divisi; Squiggle; Three Romances.
Personnel: The University of Miami Concert Jazz Band.
Style: Big Band