John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble – “All Can Work” (New Amsterdam Records, 2018)

“All Can Work” was released this month by “New Amsterdam Records”. Album was recorded by “John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble”, which is formed by 21 outstanding jazz masters – it’s Ben Kono (soprano/alto/tenor sax, flute), Jeremy Viner (clarinet, tenor sax), Tony Malaby (tenor/soprano sax on tracks 3, 6), Dan Willis (tenor sax, clarinet), Anna Webber (flute, tenor sax on tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8), Bohdan Hilash (clarinet, bass clarinet, bass sax, tubax), Mark Patterson (trombone), Mike Christianson (trombone), Jacob Garchik (trombone, euphonium on track 8), Alan Ferber (trombone on tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), Jeff Nelson (trombone on tracks 1, 7, 8), Tony Kadleck (trumpet, flugelhorn), Jon Owens (trumpet, flugelhorn), Dave Ballou (trumpet, flugelhorn), Matt Holman (trumpet, flugelhorn), Chris Tordini (acoustic, electric bass), Matt Mitchell (piano, organ, keyboard), Patricia Brennan (vibraphone, marimba, glockenspiel), John  Hollenbeck (drums, composition), Theo Blackmann (voice) and JC Sanford (conductor). All improvisations by this ensemble are based on synthesis between various avant-garde jazz styles – free and fascinating experiments, innovative musical decisions, the basic elements of bebop, post-bop, hard-bop and other modern jazz styles, swing intonations and other various jazz styles are masterfully combined together in one place. Rich and interesting musical language and polyphonic musical pattern is formed by different and unique playing manners by each musician – all these absolutely different elements are effectively and creatively combined together in one composition.

This album has dynamic sound and is based on avant-garde jazz, modern and traditional jazz styles synthesis. The musicians are improvising differently – each of them has his own and unique playing manner, sound and innovative musical language. Fascinating and outstanding musical experiments, innovative musical decisions, memorable solos, spontaneous and free improvisations, dynamic sound, constantly changing rhythmic, colorful harmony and instrumentation – all these elements are the main elements of these compositions. Voice, reeds and brass sections create a colorful, vivacious and solid melodic pattern. Soft and subtle flutes solos, wild fast, sharp, active and expressive saxophones and clarinets gently fit together with bright, solid, loud and powerful brass section. Loud, solid, vibrant and very bright melodies of flugelhorns, trombones, euphoniums, trumpets and tubaxs are the opposites to the other instruments improvisations. The duets between various instruments of these two absolutely different sections, have effective, expressive, passionate and energetic sound. Various voice improvisations also make an effort to the compositions sound – make it more colorful and expressive. All these instruments improvisations make a big effort to whole sound – it’s especially active, rapid, full of vivacious, striking, expressive and passionate solos. Piano improvisations also have memorable, sharp, emotional and active melodies and colorful harmony. The harmony of these improvisations is full of different chords – sharp and aggressive dissonances are masterfully fused together with soft and restful consonances. These two absolutely types of pitches are effectively used together and create gorgeous and interesting harmony, which also make a high effort to the compositions sound, different moods and characters. Acoustic and electric bass improvisations, very solid and expressive percussion and drums section, organ and keyboards improvisations – all these instruments form strong and vibrant rhythmic section. All types of different rhythms, gorgeous and colorful percussion sounds, soft and subtle marimba and vibraphone melodies, unusual and extraordinary timbres, turbulent drum rolls, static, slow and monotonic rhythms and many other elements are combined together in one place. All musicians are using many different playing techniques – traditional and innovative methods of playing, inventive and innovative instrumentation decisions, special effects, wide diversity of timbres and sounds: all these elements are heard very brightly and clearly in these improvisations. These improvisations sometimes are more similar to relaxing, soft and peaceful traditional jazz compositions, very expressive and dynamic bebop improvisations or – turbulent, active, powerful and furious collective free jazz improvisations. This masterful and organic synthesis between these absolutely different jazz styles and outstanding improvising create original and dynamic sound.

5 thoughts on “John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble – “All Can Work” (New Amsterdam Records, 2018)”

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