All men are created equal...what they chose to do from that point is up to them and the same goes with the classic Big Band sound of Eyal Vilner. As a child one could easily imagine Vilner as the one that continuously colored outside the lines and whose favorite word would have easily been, "why?"
Eyal Viner's dynamic arrangements are the driving force behind a remarkable flair for leaving his own unique musical stamp on everything he touches. Vilner's special stamp on his big band being that, in addition to five reeds and a rhythm section, there are four rather than eight brass. This rare combination of instruments allows for the flexibility of a smaller group ensemble but with the additional firepower when needed of the more classic big band. Eyal Vilner's compositional skills are equally as stunning by fusing individual lyrical lines or direction and then harmonizing the horns in unique combinations thus creating a broad color palette from which to work with sound combinations that continue to astound.
The classic Dizzy Gillespie "Woody' N You" raises the harmonic bar and brings the swing to a fever pitch. "Isn't This A Lovely Day," "The Nearness of You," and"Remember" are all vocal numbers highlighting Israeli vocalist Yaala Ballin who is at time oddly reminiscent of Anita O'Day from the Benny Goodman band. Ballin's voice is like a favorite sweater, the perfect fit for this distinctive big band with the finesse of a smaller ensemble. Vilner's big band approach while rooted in tradition moves to a more cutting contemporary edge as the Eyal Vilner big band attempts to preserve yet advance the jazz tradition through innovative arrangements including "Bright Mississippi" to open Jimmy Owens The Monk Project album.
With multiple lyrical lines and harmonic boundaries shattered with alarming regularity the Eyal Vilner Big Band is scoring their own arrangement that should soon have them at the pinnacle of big band success while keeping one foot firmly in the history and a keen lyrical eye on the present, Eyal Vilner is a formidable force to be reckoned with in the big band idiom.
Tracks: Woody' N You; Your Eyes; Tonk; Isn't This A Lovely Day; Un Poco Loco; The Nearness of You; New One; Night Flight; Remember; Epilogue.
Personnel: Eyal Vilner: alto saxophone, clarinets, compositions, arrangements, conducting; Yaala Ballin: vocal; Andrew Gould: alto saxophone, clarinet; Pablo Castano: alto saxophone, flute; Ned Goold: tenor saxophone; Dan Block: tenor saxophone, clarintet; Jonah Parzen Johnson: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Cameron Johnson: trumpet; Brandon Lee: trumpet, flugelhorn; John Mosca: trombone; Kevin Cerovich: trombone; Yonatan Riklis: piano; Alexi David: bass; Yonatan Rosen:drums.