The New World Jazz Composers Octet | Transitions

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Transitions

by The New World Jazz Composers Octet

The second release for this outstanding aggregation of session players and improvisers including Tim Ray, Ken Cervenka, Keala Kaumeheiwa and leader/woodwind player Daniel Ian Smith with compositional prowess and diversity written expressly for this group
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Meta Mambo
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4:15 $0.99
2. interlude 1, Ernesto
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0:48 album only
3. Transition
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8:31 $0.99
4. interlude 2, Steve and Daniel
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2:07 album only
5. Without a Paddle
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5:48 $0.99
6. Interlude 3, Tim
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0:46 album only
7. Empty Room, Bare Walls
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5:16 $0.99
8. interlude 4, Ernesto, Steve and Daniel
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1:24 album only
9. And Now for Something Completely Different
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7:44 $0.99
10. Spring Rounds (Variations on a Theme by Igor Stravinsky)
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9:38 $0.99
11. interlude 5, Daniel
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1:06 album only
12. Komla's Saudade
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7:17 $0.99
13. interlude 6, Tim
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0:51 album only
14. Bats
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6:11 $0.99
15. Interlude 7, Steve and Daniel
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1:38 album only
16. Triple Play
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8:06 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Transitions is the second release for the New World Jazz Composers Octet. This album features new music written expressly for this group of New England's finest session players and improvisers who have collectively worked with the likes of Eddie Gomez, Claudio Roditi, Arturo Sandoval, Aretha Franklin, Lyle Lovett, Mighty Sam McClain, the Temptations, The O'Jays, Boston Pops, the Boston Philharmonic, and many others. The recording is a collection of 9 diverse compositions by composers from Mexico, the Berklee College of Music, and throughout the USA seamed together in an implied "through composed" sensibility by improvised interludes by some of the members including percussion phenom Ernesto Diaz, first call drummer Steve Langone, the incomparable Tim Ray on Piano, and the groups fearless leader woodwind player Daniel ian Smith. The diversity and precision of the players execution is stunning and equally inspiring as are the note choices given birth by composers Ted Pease, Edgar Dorantes, Ken Schaphorst, Matthew Nicholl and Rich Grudzinski. In a generation of new music recordings and "throw together" ensembles, this group and recording transcend the norms in its unity, clarity of execution, and organic approach to composition. This is a living, breathing ensemble that plays music which takes on a life of its own. To be listened to over and over again with new discoveries found on each successive embrace.


Reviews


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Ted Pease

My Review
Transitions, the second CD offering by The New World Jazz Composers Octet, presents an extraordinary collection of nine original jazz compositions by some of Boston’s best and brightest writers. But the thing that makes leader Daniel Ian Smith’s CD especially noteworthy is the improvised interludes that are programmed between the compositions.

The listener is drawn into the music right from the opening downbeat. The lively salsa-tinged “Meta Mambo” composed by Berklee faculty member Richard Grudzinski is followed by “Transition,” a lovely bossa nova by Edgar Dorantes, but not before percussionist Ernesto Diaz sets up the second piece with a short solo on congas. With that intervening interlude, the pattern of composition – interlude – composition is established. The pattern works beautifully, smoothing out what might otherwise be stark contrasts in compositional content separated only by the more conventional four or five seconds of silence between tracks.

For another example of this, check out the amazing interlude improvised by pianist Tim Ray between the ending of the funk/rock piece “Without a Paddle” and the poignant opening of “Empty Room, Bare Walls,” both compositions by Matthew Nicholl. Tim begins in a bright and playful mood, but by the end of his vignette 47 seconds later, the mood has darkened considerably, and the transition to the tender sensibilities of the succeeding ballad has been successfully accomplished.

Other highlights of Transitions include the second line groove of “And Now For Something Completely Different” by Ted Pease, the beautiful alto solo by leader Daniel Ian Smith on “Spring Rounds,” Ken Cervenka’s wild trumpet solo on “Bats” by Ken Schaphorst, Dino Govoni’s energetic solo on “Triple Play” by Ted Pease, and solid lead trumpet work throughout by Walter Platt.

The rhythm section of Tim Ray (piano), Keala Kaumeheiwa (bass), Steve Langone (drums), and Ernesto Diaz (percussion) is excellent, adapting, as the players must, to the varying stylistic demands of nine very different compositions. Each player also rises to the occasion when called upon to solo. Highlights include Tim Ray’s warm introduction to Edgar Dorantes’ “Transition,” Keala Kaumeheiwa’s solo on “Spring Rounds” in which he quotes a passage from “The Rite of Spring,” Steve Langone’s New Orleans street beat on “And Now For Something Completely Different,” and Ernesto Diaz’ strong Latin percussion accompaniment throughout.

Transitions is a special album, a diamond in the rough of today’s crowded independent label market. Be sure and get your copy at CD Baby today.

Charles Bubeck

The Urge
I must admit that I usually suffer from a short attention span when it comes to listening to music. My IPod is almost always in shuffle mode, bouncing between multiple styles and genres all day long. Transitions by the New World Jazz Composers Octet comes in at just over 71 minutes long and I have to admit that I was afraid I wouldn’t get but half way through my first listening before I had the urge to move on to something else. I am happy to say that I have listened to this entire CD no less than 8 times and I’m still waiting for that urge to hit me. I love this CD…the entire CD!

The playing on this recording is on such a high level that they make these wonderful compositions sound effortless. The true genius here though is the programming. Every tune presents a new rhythmic groove, new textures and such a dizzying array of instruments that I would swear there at least 12 people in this band. In one tune we are treated to the smokiest, coolest bari-sax solo I’ve ever heard, in another a tenor sax is trying to tear the paint off the walls of my studio and in another the piano comes through like the sun through a fine crystal chandelier. (A chandelier with a sense of humor!) I must admit that I really enjoy the musical interludes between the tunes, and in some cases they even leave me wanting more…me wanting more! Go figure!

This CD was not meant to be delegated to shuffle status. It’s way better than that. So try and find 70 or so minutes of free time (no small effort for most of us) and sit back and enjoy this great music. As for myself, I may buy a few more CD’s in the next few weeks, but it might be a while until I get around to listening to them…I just don’t have the urge.