Thursday, October 21, 2010
A New One From Darrell Katz and the Jazz Composer's Alliance Orchestra
A new disk by Darrell Katz (A Wallflower in the Amazon [Accurate 5059]) and his Jazz Composer Alliance Orchestra is a matter of some occasion to me. I've followed the music over the course of a number of albums and have found that there is virtually always something to interest me in them. Mr. Katz is a well wrought sort of arranger-composer.
The new album continues Katz trend of increasingly tailoring aspects of his music for a larger audience. So there is an arrangement of Duke Ellington's "I Like the Sunrise" from "Liberian Suite," there are arrangements of a couple of classic blues numbers, and their are vocals here and there. Now the vocals should appeal to people who cannot relate to music on any level without there being some verbal-vocal content. I tend to expect the very best from jazz singers. And when I don't get it I don't like it.
The vocalists on this album are quite decent, but I do end up asking myself if they are totally necessary to the proceedings. But that is a matter of preference.
The arrangements are sonically detailed and quite well performed by the orchestra. The compositions are weighty and contemporary, they add colors and complexities that Mr. Katz does so well in creating, and there are those elements that should help more people appreciate his music.
It is a remarkable feat to keep a big band such as this one going for as long as it has, and the result is a tightly presented sonance that any lover of the larger aggregates should appreciate. It is in, but it is also out when there is an expressive need. Good!