Thursday, May 6, 2010

John Vanore: Curiosity

Acoustical Concepts
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 5.6.10
Buy CD: Curiosity

John Vanore is an instrumentalist — trumpet and flugelhorn — composer and arranger. He's an alum of Woody Herman's band, and formed his own group (Abstract Truth) some time ago.

Curiosity initially was released in 1991 but, for reasons unknown, hardly caused a ripple on the jazz pond. This new, re-mastered version of that recording is well worthwhile.

This is one of the most interesting albums I've heard in a long time. The instrumentation is unique; the 13-member band includes eight in the brass section: five trumpets/flugelhorns, two trombones and a French horn! The reed “section” contains only two artists; one plays alto and soprano saxes and flute, while the other is on tenor sax and flute.

The rhythm section is the standard piano, bass and drums, although three different percussionists split the chores on this album's eight tracks. The result is something of a brass chorale ... that really romps.

Vanore composed half of the tunes and arranged all but two of the others. I won't call this “modern” jazz, because that genre doesn't always swing, and sometimes isn't very melodic; I'll settle for the term “advanced.” The meters are straight-ahead and, for the most part, up-tempo. Three tracks are ballads, and the liner notes describe them as “pretty.” I agree, although that's not a term usually applied to jazz.

This is an excellent unit; give it a try.

No comments: