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Friday, January 18, 2008

Rob Reddy - The Book Of The Storm (Reddy Music, 2007) **½

Last year Rob Reddy's "A Hundred Jumping Devils" brought him a little away from the fixed compositional patterns of his previous releases, but unfortunately with "The Book Of The Storm", he falls back into them, with recognizable structures, phrases and tempo, creating a dragging, funereal feel which starts irritating after a while. The major change compared to earlier albums is the orchestral performance, which is not really big band, but more cinematic, full of melodramatic effects. This is music made to impress, contained in itself, suffocating at times, arrogant at others. Some of the themes and melodies sound almost as if they have been copied from his "However Humble" or "Post-War Euphoria", with references to Ellington and the blues, only the arrangements are a little more complex due to the size of the band. And it's not easy to use a big band to play avant-garde jazz. Graham Collier has done some work on this level, but here too often with the same major flaw : too much orchestration without a deep sense of swing or soul, comes across as pompous. Only on the last track "Amongst The Ruins" does some real tension arise, but that's hardly enough to make this a worthwhile record.

Rob Reddy, composer and conductor
Oscar Noriega, clarinet and bass clarinet
Steve Elson, flute and soprano saxophone
Cochemea Gastelum, alto saxophone
Tim Otto, soprano and tenor saxophones
Lisa Parrott, soprano and baritone saxophones
John Carlson, trumpet
Bob Scarpulla, trumpet
Mark Taylor, French horn
Lis Rubbard, French horn
Curtis Hasselbring, trombone
Charles Burnham, violin
Sarah Bernstein, violin
Marlene Rice, viola
Mary Wooten, cello
Dom Richards, double bass
Brandon Ross, acoustic and electric guitars
Jon Margulies, electric guitar
Pheeroan akLaff, drums
Guillermo E. Brown, drums

Listen to samples
Spacious Skies/Faithless Bells
God Damn
Fool's March
Among The Ruins

You can buy or download from CDBaby.