GRAND CENTRAL. The name conjures up that famous train station in the heart of New York City, one of the busiest places in a city full of buzz. Buzzing with life, bristling with energy, full of people whose lives converge for a moment and diverge again, Grand Central is the focal point of much of the city's movement.
We'd like to introduce a new take on Grand Central, with no less life or energy. This incarnation is a jazz quartet, comprising four musicians of overlapping experience and aesthetics. The idea came out of a musical reunion, at which a pianist suggested to a drummer and a saxophonist, "we should form a band so we can play together more often!" In fact, the players in the band include several serious composers, each of whom contributes at least one track to this recording. The aggregate compositional output of the band members includes not only jazz quartet pieces but works for big band, concert choir, symphony orchestra, jazz vocal ensemble, and chamber music groups. These guys like to write!
Saxophonist Javier Arau studied with Jerry Bergonzi and Bob Brookmeyer and is both a four-time Down Beat magazine award-winner and the recipient of a 2002 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers award. His playing is warm and vibrant, and his compositions and arrangements intricate yet accessible. Pianist Chris Mueller, a student of Andy Laverne and Ted Rosenthal, combines thoughtful linear soloing with offbeat accompanimental riffs and patterns. His jazz vocal arrangements are published through the University of Northern Colorado Jazz Press, and he also works as a choral composer, conductor, and organist. Drummer Gabe Gloege studied composition with Bob Brookmeyer and honed his rhythmic sensibility in India, studying under Bhaskar Chandavarkar, a disciple of Ravi Shankar. He conjures up rich orchestral colors with propulsive finesse. Double-bassist Chris Marolf, solid and swinging throughout, is fluent in all languages of bass playing, coming out of an orchestral tradition and into a world not only of jazz but pop, backing singer/songwriter Jann Klose, and world music, via his middle Eastern ensemble The Howling Makams.
The players' experiences together date back to the mid-90's, when Chris Mueller, Javier, and Gabe first met. Marolf and Mueller connected a few years later. In the spring of 2003, these four kindred musical spirits formed Grand Central, uniting to focus their energies on that most American of musics, jazz. We hope that the joy, vitality, and attention to detail invested here will result in an enjoyable and satisfying experience for you, the listener. We love this music, and we hope you will, too.