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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

CD Review: Darrell Katz and the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra – Why Do You Ride?

(Review by Russell).
A press release accompanying Why Do You Ride? proclaims:
Darrell Katz and the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra play music about Albert Einstein, the Zen of riding bicycles, and a six-toed cat.
The CD cover art features a sepia-tinted photograph of Einstein riding a bicycle. Question: Will listening to this recording make your brain hurt?
The opening bars threaten cinematic horror. Fears quickly dissipate as Ellingtonian muted horns growl reassuringly, then just as quickly a menacing flute asserts, finally ceding to a  swinging (sixties tv theme) tune swirling around Rebecca Shrimpton’s soaring vocals. An accomplished raft of soloists step up; Phil Scarff (tenor), Hiroaki Honshuku (flute, EWI), Joe Doubleday (vibraphone), Mike Peipman (trumpet), Dan Zupan (baritone), bandleader Darrell Katz (guitar), all marshalled  by the superb big band drumming of Luther Gray.
So, who are these guys? Think Boston, Mass. Think Berklee. The band has a three-decades pedigree of writing and performing challenging, hugely entertaining charts. The premise for this recording is flawed. Darrell Katz concedes his love of bicycles and a lazy approach to research (all things Google) resulted in his compositions being inspired by largely inaccurate (and in some cases wholly non-attributable) quotes attributable to   Einstein. No matter, the music is fantastic! From Ellington to Carla Bley to Loose Tubes’ irreverence. The orchestra is a band of soloists. On Sticks and Stones David Harris’ solo gives Gary Valente a run for his money (Shrimpton intoning Sticks and Stones is utterly commanding), The Mysterious is torn to shreds by Jim Hobbs’ lacerating alto, the entire album is peppered by outstanding soloists, as are the sections. The ensemble is a treat to listen to. A UK concert appearance seems unlikely. Boston, here I come.                        
(Russell).
Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra: Rebecca Shrimpton (voice), Hiroaki Honshuku (flute, EWI), Allan Chase (alto saxophone), Jim Hobbs (alto saxophone), Phil Scarff (tenor, soprano & sopranino saxophones & clarinet), Dan Zupan (baritone saxophone & bass clarinet), Mike Peipman (trumpet), Gary Bohan (trumpet), Forbes Graham (trumpet), Bob Pilkington (trombone), David Harris (trombone), Jim Mosher (French horn), Bill Lowe (tuba), Luther Gray (drums), Norm Zocher (guitar), John Funkhouser (bass), Joe Doubleday (vibraphone), Mina Cho (piano), Ryan Edwards (percussion) & Darrell Katz (guitar.)
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JCA Sax Quartet: Jeff Hudgkins (alto saxophone), Daniel Ian Smith (alto saxophone), Phil Scarff (tenor saxophone) & Dan Bosshardt (baritone saxophone).
The JCAO is preparing to celebrate the band’s thirtieth birthday. This new CD (out now) is a present to the band, and to you, the listener. Darrell Katz and the JCA Orchestra – Why Do You Ride? is available on Leo Records CD LR 711. Recommended.  

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