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Jeremy Pelt: "It [Birth of the Cool sessions] was bebop in sheep's clothing." - (DownBeat, December 2019).

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

CD Review: Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra - Down a Rabbit Hole

(Review by Dave Brownlow) 
Ayn Inserto, a brilliant composer/arranger who’s reputation has gradually increased since lodging her first ensemble in 2001. Her innovative writing is fresh, imaginative, inspired, full of surprises and unlike anyone else in the current scene. Once a pupil of the late Bob Brookmeyer, I can detect his influence here and there, but her own unique style is now fully formed with an abundance of ideas.

Three and Me: Features the three main soloists - Jones, Fedchock and Garzone in a typically complex piece. The strong rhythm section holds down an aurally-different base as themes and counter-melodies emerge and depart amongst organised “disorder.”


BJ’s Tune: A vehicle for Jones the trumpeter, arranged by Ayn and showing a style favoured by Brookmeyer where the theme is fragmentary – short musical ideas, linked by muttering drums as Jones’ melodic trumpet solo wends its way through richly null orchestral statements.

Mister And Dudley (the names of Fedchock and Wharton’s pet dogs) catch the mood of two playful, friendly animals where frisky theme statements combined with a fluent trombone solo from Fedchock form a swinging saunter in the park.

Down a Rabbit Hole: A composition first heard on his 2015 release Home Away From Home. We tumble around a supercharged descent down a magical vortex of a rabbit hole with seemingly endless strands of music bursting forth in an imaginative ‘wonderland’. Garzone features here with a forceful, authoritative contribution shouted on by dramatic figures from brass and reeds.

Part 1: Ze Teach and Part2: And Me is the two-part centrepiece of the CD. Firstly, a haunting theme in a swinging medium tempo is imaginatively delivered, introducing Randy Pingrey’s thoughtful solo in three segments. As usual, unexpected harmonies abound throughout.
Part2: And Me – somewhat Brookmeyer influenced – A powerhouse statement driven by the uncompromising rhythm team. Again, melodic fragments are introduced and developed in a complicated but joyous framework for Chase on soprano and Stone on alto to solo through. ‘Fiendishly difficult’ parts are seemingly effortless for this band. I’m impressed!

I’ll Be There – the Motown song – is completely re-imagined by Ayn as a gentle, warm, reflective ballad begun by a ‘Debussian’ piano intro from Yeager, then Claassen on flugel (the melody), the agile Rosenthal on trumpet and some exquisite writing for the clarinets to bring this album to a quiet close.

Crazy like a fox, Inserto has created her own musical Wonderland with her orchestra, a sensational universe easily accessible with a little step down a rabbit hole…” says the press release: I couldn’t put it better myself.
Dave B.
CD available now on Summit Records DCD 732 from: www.ayninserto.com

Ayn Inserto (leader, composer, arranger); Jeff Claassen, Bijon Watson, Dan Rosenthal, Matthew Small (Trumpets); Randy Pingrey, Chris Gagne, Garo Saraydarian (Trombones); Jennifer Wharton (Bass Trombone); Allan Chase, Rick Stone, Kelly Roberge, Mark Zaleski, Kathy Olsen (Reeds); Eric Hofbauer (guitar), Jason Yeager (piano), Sean Farias (bass), Austin McMahon (drums) + guests: John Fedchock (trombone); George Garzone (tenor); Sean Jones (trumpet)
On Track 5: Mike Tomasiak (tenor); Jerry Sabatini (trumpet); Tim Lienhard (trombone); Jamie Kember (bass trombone)


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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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