Thursday, June 3, 2010

Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts: Fourteen Channels

Tapestry Records
By Ric Bang • Originally published in The Davis Enterprise, 6.3.10
Buy CD: Fourteen Channels

According to its mission statement, the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts “provides youth with jazz education opportunities for the study and performance of jazz music, culture and history.”

This nonprofit school, based in Denver, offers classes, ensembles and camps to its students. This CD was produced during a camp held for 17 musicians, ages 16 to 24, who were assigned to create a commercial album of their own compositions. They were exposed to every aspect of the recording industry: pre-planning; layout of the interior studio; microphone location; recording the tunes; mixing and mastering the results; and establishing their own publishing company and assisting with promotion.

Tapestry, a division of Capri Records, was a key part of this process.

The musicians divided themselves into two different groups. The Dominant 7 instrumentation consisted of a trumpet, two reed players — one played flute and soprano, alto and tenor sax; the other played baritone sax — a guitarist, pianist, drummer and bassist. (Two students shared the latter chair.)

The Jazz Arts Messengers unit utilized four individuals in the reed section (alto/ clarinet, alto, tenor/flute and tenor saxes), a trombonist and, again, a rhythm section with piano, guitar, bass and drums. The two bands split the album's 14 tracks.

The results are outstanding: great innovative melodies, ensemble work and solos. I got a warm and very positive feeling about jazz's future!

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