Artiste: Renolds Jazz Orchestra
Helen Savari-Renold (Vocals)
Fritz Renold (Alto and Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet, alto Clarinet)
Greg Tardy (Alto Saxophone, Clarinet)
Tommy Smith (Tenor and Soprano Saxophone, Flute)
Donny McCaslin (Tenor and Soprano Saxophone, Flute, Alto Flute)
Bernd Konrad (Baritone saxophone, Bass Clarinet)
Willie Murillo (Lead Trumpet & Flugelhorn)
Randy Brecker (Trumpet & Flugelhorn)
Barrie Lee Hall (Trumpet & Flugelhorn)
Steven Bernstein (Trumpet, Slide Trumpet & Flugelhorn)
Amir Elsaffar (Trumpet, Cornet & Flugelhorn)
Vincent Gardner (Trombone)
Patrik Lerchmüller (Trombone)
David Taylor (Trombone)
Jamshied Sharifi (Piano)
Miroslav Vitous (Accoustic Bass)
Adam Nussbaum (Drums)
Willy Kotoun (Percussion)
Patrick Furrer (Conductor)
Liner Notes by Fred Bouchard
Fritz and Helen Savari-Renold have assembled a truly unique international cast here to express their profound, moving suite on the Deity’s great effort to restore peace and union with mankind. This majestic, joyous work celebrates a message of unconditional love through the prism of Euro-American jazz. The score reflects myriad jazz influences (Ellington pastel harmonies, Afro-Cuban rhythms, Kenton power bursts) and with deft grace and logic blends them with earlier traditions (Stravinsky chords, Lisztian piano interludes, sinuous Eastern modes). As a cube is a solid resulting from a series of right angles, Fritz and Helen assemble the pre essence of jazz and classical worlds into a seamless, elegant and mystical structure. The performance is dynamic, the conception organic, and the score rich in detail and nuance. Listen, learn and enjoy!
1: Grave Intrigues
Helen leads us boldly in medias res as she sings ecstatic warning about deceptive schemings, backed by bluesy clarinets of ‘Ellington East’, with Barrie Lee’s Cootie Williams-ish trumpet and Fritz’ sinuous soprano. Jamshied’s piano leaps in solo, leading into a Latinesque groove under Dave and Barrie lee. Helen’s interlude over saxes points with smooth accusation at the high priests, cast as the three trombones and an improvised, purposefully chaotic cadenza by Dave, Miroslav and Adam. A conspirational brass choral in Eastern melodic form, unison trumpets over orchestra, as Helen briefly reconfirms her honey-coated warning.
The high priest who brought Jesus before Pontius Pilate is portrayed as a slick dude in this fast-paced up-tempo Latin groove. Greg’s Jimmy Hamilton-ian clarinet cedes to Steve’s sweet, high and fine solo; Tommy begins boppish, then travels East, high and wide. On Greg’s return, a brief orchestral shout leads to a percussion break and trombone interlude; trumpets lead in fugal pattern to an a cappella Gypsy wind band, ‘classical’ cadenza, traps break, and Ducal tutti.
3: The Potter’s Field
This sultry svelte blues à la Johnny Hodges’ Nile journey (Such Sweet Thunder) sets up Helen’s moan chorus (defending the afflicted, railing against irresponsible leaders) that is reflected in Amir’s long-toned muezzin-like and Tommy’s melismatic soprano (he’d just toured Yemen). Under all, and then alone, Miroslav sets high standards for bass freedom, rising from the gutted, blasted earth. Fritz explains: “The Potter’s Field symbolizes today any place where people are exploited, manipulated and deserted for the profit of self-seeking leaders.”
4: Let This Blood Be Upon Us!
Adam and Jamshied lead to a bold tenor exchange by Tommy and Donny demonstrating that motivations between God and Man are often at variance. Saxes and brass trade fours with Miroslav and prepare for Jamshied’s Romantic piano. Then through a heavy band shout chorus followed by the voice that acknowledges the quirk of fate despite the asserted will of Man reflecting the Creator’s intent – unconditional love. The irony here runs deep: Man, thinking to defeat the threat of Jesus as a religious renegade by crucifying him, in fact fulfils God’s will (that His Son be sacrificed) to show Man the error of his ways, yet to ultimately absolve and embrace him.
5: The Rooster Crows
Expresses Jesus’ correct prophecy that Apostle Peter will deny their friendship three times before the cock, crows. After Jamshied’s wake-up call, the rhythm section briskly leads to full orchestra. Helen’s catchy lyric implies that modern Christians, as well-meaning but weak-willed as Peter in standing by Jesus, often deny His teaching to more comfortably embrace a spectrum of worldly ways. Donny’s spirited solo makes a show of Peter striking off Caiaphas’ servant’s ear! Randy and Donny solo pointedly again into full band cry and Helen’s closing chorus.
6: “Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani!”
Bernd rumbles and wails the opening cadenza, as Christ crucified cries out to The Father, “Why have you forsaken me?” Amir’s melismatic, screaming trumpet expresses Christ’s pain and climaxes into Willie’s solo over the band. Helen’s pensive vocal ponders that Jesus’ suffering ‘on that darkest afternoon’ exceeded the physical, since he shouldered the Sins of Man on the cross and severed Himself from God’s Spirit.
7: The Resurrection
This piece links Christ’s epiphany to pathways of potential human regeneration – the cross (or the death of the ego). A Dukish Jamshied and playful Miroslav lead to Helen’s vocal; then a fast blues leads to Donny’s querying and Barrie Lee’s affirmation (as Adam pushes). Jamshied’s swing abruptly shifts to a Brahmsian solo interlude in multiple meter (7/4, 3/4, 5/8), then back into the theme as Helen discreetly overdubbed (as body and spirit) limns in unison with clarinet and the re-energized ensemble a-roar. What a turnabout!
8: The Great Commission
Polite piano leads to Fritz’ soprano over low, skittering flutes, followed by a light Latin prance with jawbone. Helen’ airy melody ‘go and tell the world’ continues the thread within the message describing the regenerated life as a natural consequence for men who choose Christ’s path. Latin rhythms bring the work full circle. Fritz’ impassioned soprano balances Randy’s gritty trumpet, refusing illusions. Sectional counterpoint sets up Helen’s second chorus, supported by Miroslav and Jamshied, and then the full ensemble shouts the mesmerizing refrain.
Winds emerge from chaos into a ringing brass shout; then plumb the mysterious interchanges between Christ and Holy Spirit, crescendo-ing as Greg’s clarinet fantasia builds to brass chorale. The rhythm section muses intently, rising via brass accents and cresting flutes into Helen’s ecstatic vocal. Swinging Vincent leads to a contrapuntal sweep, as high winds and subdued brass climax in becalming Stravinsky-esque chords.
The suite eases out with a supple rumba as Willy’s taut conga and Vincent, muted lead to Greg’s clarinet over a bluesy Ducal reed/trombone theme. As the reeds lope west, Randy’s hot trumpet rides two choruses and yields to Greg over trombones. Tommy’s magisterial tenor, hiply robed as The Father, blesses all Creation as He opens heaven’s gates with a flourishing cadenza, fading to white.
Recently I read an interview with the famous actor John Cusak who stated emphatically that he wished he was a musician. His reasoning: Music was the closest thing to Prayer. This CD goes one step further. This music is Prayer. Prayer with the purest of intentions and a Dream realized to it\'s fullest extent.
Fritz Renold has created an extended powerful work that allows his beautiful wife Helen Savari-Renold\'s voice and lyrics to shine over an absolutely first rate orchestra of all-stars who are playing their hearts out....this is a work that will be performed again and again. - Randy Brecker
I\'ve listened to your exciting CD and was absolutely thrilled. It is some of the best writing I\'ve heard in years. It\'s fresh and daringly masterful ... And the performance of the music is really breath-taking - Wow!
- Benny Golson