Monday, November 22, 2010

Wil Swindler's Elevenet: Universe B

OA2 Records
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Universe B

Texas-born Wil Swindler began to study music at age 5; he was 9 when he chose the saxophone as his instrument. School and teaching have been his life: He earned a magma cum laude degree in jazz studies from the University of North Texas, attended the Henry Mancini Institute on a full scholarship, and is part of the faculty at Colorado State University. He has taught at Denver University, the Colorado Conservatory of Jazz Music and the University of Northern Colorado.

As a performer, he has worked with numerous name bands, notably with Toshiko Akiyoshi. Swindler also was a Gil Evans Scholarship winner in 2008.

The group featured on this album is Swindler’s “Elevenet,” which adds some less traditional instruments (bass clarinet, alto flute, French horn and euphonium) to the traditional horns (alto, tenor and soprano saxes, trumpet/flugelhorns) and a standard rhythm section with both acoustic and Rhodes keyboards. The basic size of the unit remains at 11, although 14 artists were utilized during the recording sessions.

Five tracks are Swindler originals, and he arranged everything. The covers include Miles Davis’ “Miles Ahead,” Billy Strayhorn’s “A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing” and George Harrison’s “Blue Jay Way.”

This band is very modern, and it swings softly and delightfully: another shining example of “beautiful” jazz.

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