Jazz Times CD Review, September 2007
"There’s an energetic creative force on the horizon named Ayn Inserto, and based on this debut album, she’s Maria Schneider on steroids. Boston-based Inserto, an assistant professor at Berklee, arranged all nine tracks and composed six. George Garzone, who is a guest tenorist, wrote the remaining three. The other guest soloist is trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, who happens to be Inserto’s mentor. That connection alone gives credence to the album. What you’ll hear may be confusing. In Inserto’s contemporary mindset, there seems little need for bar lines or, in many instances, tonal centers. Her strength is in creating dense colors and textures, as on “Clairvoyance.” Sticking with a conventional, 17-piece band, she devises huge, avant-garde canvases filled with clusters (she loves minor seconds). Brookmeyer is laid-back, never deviating from his sophisticated tones, creating a fascinating contrast to Inserto’s dissonant backing, particularly on “Shadow Dancing.” Garzone, on the other hand, tends to become as anarchic as the band, as on “Hey, Open Up.” Pianist Kyle Aho takes a very poetic solo on “Early Sunday Morning,” and there is outstanding rhythmic support from bassist Jeremy Allen and drummer Richie Barshay on 'Lazy Saturday Afternoon.'" - Harvey Siders
"Ayn Inserto is a young, beautiful and very talented composer who has just made a dramatic entrance into the world of big band jazz, offering a new voice on this debut album. Her music is new and unconventional, striking a different chord than what one usually expects from a big band project. Inserto assembled her sixteen-piece Boston-based orchestra with some of the best local talent. A student of legendary trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, who likens Inserto to Maria Schneider, she recorded this album with her mentor and reed man George Garzone as special guests. Except for three tracks penned by Garzone, the balance consists of original compositions and arrangements provided by the leader.
What is clearly evident here, right from the opening “The Mingus That I Knew,” is that you will not be treated to a typical big band sound. The charts are sophisticated, with intricate lines and texture characterized by direction-changing moods and tempo. The composer crafted the entire album around her two guests, who provide a slew of tasteful solos.
The opening tune features an impressive performance by Garzone, who continues his assault on tenor and soprano on his own “Hey Open Up,” “Just Blow” and the finale, “The Chooch,” a wild and humorous piece containing the only vocals (also provided by the saxophonist). Bob Brookmeyer shows his stuff on Inserto’s “Shadow Dancing With a Hint of Gold” and “Early Sunday Morning,” and then shares the spotlight with Garzone on “Lazy Saturday Afternoon” and the title cut.
I have to be perfectly honest and state that it took me a couple of listens to truly appreciate the fresh new sound that differentiates this album. I suspect that we will be hearing more from Inserto in the future, and rightly so. Ayn Inserto’s sophisticated charts and clever arrangements on Clairvoyance serve to harness that energy to create a unique big band sound without the heavy orchestration." - Edward Blanco, allaboutjazz.com
"Ayn Inserto is one the most gifted young composers I have had the pleasure of teaching in many years. She has a "universal" musical language that translates successfully to public and musician alike, but also has a very robust and aggressive side. Her music is crafted beautifully, reminding me -- of course-- of my most famous student, Maria Schneider. There it stops -- Ayn has her own voice her own way and, indeed, is now influencing my newer students at the New England Conservatory. I have chosen to be her mentor because she is a rare bird -- they do not happen very often so I hope and to help her along what promises to be a shining path and a bright future." - Bob Brookmeyer
Ayn Inserto is a groundbreaking composer who is emerging as one of the preeminent voices of her generation. She received her Masters of Music degree in Jazz Composition from the New England Conservatory in May 2001. She is a winner of the 2003 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers' Award and has received various honors which include the Concord Pavilion Associates Marian McPartland Award, the Pacific Coast Jazz Festival Most Outstanding small jazz ensemble, and the 1999 Best Original Composition award at the Billy Higgins Jazz Festival. She currently studies jazz composition with Bob Brookmeyer as his protege. Her music has been performed at the Berklee Performance Center, 1999 IAJE Convention, California State University of Hayward Jazz Festivals, Reno Jazz Festival, Billy Higgins Jazz Festival, New England Conservatory of Music, Montreux Jazz Festival and the Umbria Jazz Festival.
Ayn has been commissioned by Foxboro High School, Harvard Jazz Band, Marin Catholic High School and Fairfield High School, and recently by George Garzone to arrange his music featuring him as a soloist with jazz orchestra. She currently resides in Boston and teaches at Indian Hill Music Center, South Shore Conservatory and is an assistant professor at Berklee College of Music.
Clairvoyance is Ayn's first recording as a leader. This album features her re-arrangements of three Garzone compositions as well as her own originals. The pieces feature the incredible musicality of the ensemble as well as the amazing solos of Garzone and Brookmeyer. There is a wide contrast in moods from piece to piece, and this album promises an interesting ride.
Ayn Inserto, director/composer/arranger
Bob Brookmeyer, guest trombone soloist
George Garzone, guest saxophone/vocal soloist
Jeremy Udden, soprano and alto sax, flute; Rick Stone, alto sax, flute, clarinet; Bill Jones, tenor sax, clarinet; Kelly Roberge, tenor sax, clarinet; Hans Spencer, bari sax, clarinet; Jeff Claassen, lead trumpet;
Josh Economy, trumpet; Peter Kenagy, trumpet; Matt Small, trumpet; Jeff Galindo, trombone; Christian Pincock, trombone; Garo Saraydarian, trombone; Chris Gagne, trombone; Mike Gamble, guitar; Kyle Aho, piano;
Jeremy Allen, bass; Richie Barshay, drums