Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mike Holober: Quake

Sunnyside Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 5.7.09
Buy CD: Quake

Pianist/composer/arranger Mike Holober has worked with — and written for — some of the top artists in the jazz scene; he can be heard on more than 40 recordings as a sideman.

As a leader, he has recorded with both a quintet and the Gotham Jazz Orchestra; this album features the latter group.

In addition to Holober's work in the New York City area, he has toured extensively in Europe and has performed and/or recorded with the HR Big Band in Frankfort, the WDR Big Band in Cologne, and the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra. He's also an assistant professor at the City College of New York.

Holober's style is in the contemporary classical jazz idiom. His compositions are musical, rhythmic and complex: definitely written for the concert stage, and not for dancing. The Gotham Jazz Orchestra consists of five saxes, four trumpets, four trombones, a guitar, a bass and drums, with Holober playing both piano and Fender Rhodes.

The musicians are excellent, and the unit is beautifully rehearsed: no fluffs to be heard. The content consists of thoughtful and brilliant ensemble passages, interspersed with outstanding solo work by members from each section of the orchestra.

It's almost too precise; a little less perfection might have yielded a more exciting performance. That said, what's present is choice!

No comments: