Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rob Mosher Polebridge 2013

Chamber jazz takes a whimsical left turn with loose cannons of attitude and unbridled spirit embracing a conceptual spin on chamber music for the wild west.

Chamber jazz is more traditional referenced as a hybrid of jazz, classical and some organic folk nuances to act as a sonic binding agent to marry these two genres together. Now imagine a conceptual riff on a Montana town with a population of 88 and where one might find Schumann and Prokofiev hammered at a local watering hole's piano. Chamber jazz gone saloon wild with amazing results!

While chamber jazz may be the hottest ticket and latest sub genre in the jazz family tree, the additional of American roots music including Appalachian fiddle combined with country flavor adds an incredible textured finish to an sonic collective that seems to cut an enormous sonic path on the improvisational road less traveled with a special flair and effortless precision similar ensembles have tried but failed miserably. Trumpet player Micah Killion as performed with John Medeski and the Juilliard Orchestra while vocalist Stephanie Nilles has been described by Rolling Stone as "Ella Fitzgerald beating the shit out of Regina Spektor."

Wrap you're brain around that...

Continuing we have violinist John Marcus who has performed with the Grammy-nominated Enso String Quartet and Andrew Small who is a young bass phenom rounding out this most eclectic ensemble with chamber music that pushes well past accepted norms and celebrates not only what is considered roots music here in America but the deconstructed building blocks of the classical forms perfected by J.S. Bach. While tagging this ensemble with yet another arbitrary label would be a bit disingenuous, the idea of "N.P.R Jazz" might be a fitting description for those looking to expand their harmonic color palette with both simplicity and complexity at the same time. A rare treat for any artist or ensemble to pull off with this level of proficiency.

4 Stars

Tracks: Pass The Beer Bread; Rango's Tango; Marigold; Sketch #1; Sketch #2; North By Northwest; The Klesmanaughts; Around The Bend; Parade Of Two; Didn't Ask (Breathe Now); Sketch #3; Cowboy Ben.

Personnel: Rob Mosher: sop. sax, clarinet, eng. horn; Micah Killion: trumpet; John Marcus: violin; Stephanie Mills: grand and saloon piano, B3 organ, voice; Andrew Small: acoustic bass, fiddle. Special Guests - Peter Lutek: bassoon & contra alto clarinet on "Didn't Ask."; Petr Cancura: mandolin on "Sketch #1" and "North By Northwest."