Friday, December 17, 2004

Shameless self promotion

From the most recent Downtown Music Gallery newsletter:

"INDUSTRIAL JAZZ GROUP - the Star Chamber (Innova 615) This is the fourth release (2nd for Innova) from this incredibly cool progressive/chamber/jazz unit from California, I believe. On 'the Star Chamber' they are a nonet led by pianist Andrew Durkin and feature Evan Francis, Cory Wright & Beth Schenck reeds, Kris Tiner & Phil Rodriguez on trumpets, Garrett Smith on trombone, Aaron Kohen on bass and Aaron McLendon on drums. All horns and rhythm team with no guitar! Andrew runs a tight ship and writes layers of intricate lines for his impressive six person horn team, giving each player a chance to solo over the intricate, interlocking parts. In some ways this is similar to Zappa's 'Grand Wazoo', but without the guitar or quick-changing complexities, yet still retaining with that wacky humor which is never forced. The strong point here is Andrew's rich writing for those layers of contrapuntal horns, at times it is only flute, sax and clarinet that we hear, used just right with equally strong harmonies for the trumpets and trombone. What is interesting is that this music is really in between categories, although it does use elements of modern jazz, chamber music and other quirky elements too difficult to pigeonhole. The group name is somewhat misleading, as there is nothing industrial about this and jazz is just one part of what this draws from. Leader Andrew Durkin concentrates more on writing, arranging and conducting and keeping his piano playing down to a minimum, hence it is crafty composing that makes this so special. I hear occasional snippets from different ethnic areas, which are just used as some minimal exotic spice to flavor things for subtle but satisfying taste."

Another item brought to my attention by KT.

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