Friday, February 12, 2016

The 14 Jazz Orchestra: Nothing Hard Is Ever Easy

By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Nothing Hard Is Ever Easy

This is the first album by this group, composed of jazz and studio musicians who live and work in and around Miami, Florida.  The ensemble numbers 13 instrumentalists — four reeds, three trumpets, two trombones and a four-man rhythm section, which includes a guitar — along with director/conductor Dan Bonsanti.  

This unit does not focus on the Great American Songbook; it concentrates on modern orchestral jazz from masters such as Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Charlie Parker and their counterparts. Bonsanti arranged all but one of the 11; the exception is Billy Strayhorn’s “U.M.M.G.” 

Although these musicians aren’t household names in Jazz, many have worked with — or played for — the likes of Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Barbra Streisand and others. The ensemble work here is outstanding, and the solo opportunities for key members are many, with their performance equally excellent.

They haven’t yet been together long enough to achieve the “loose” but swinging sound that grabs you by the throat. (Consider the GRP Big Band, for example.) But this album a good start, and it’s refreshing to see signs of promising life in Florida.

1 comment:

  1. I'm fairly confident knowing the scope and ability of the conductor/arranger and the 13 musicians IF hey desired to sound like GRP Big Band they would have no problem with that task set before them. But,..GRP already exists so why mimic them ? Kudo's to the GRP Big Band,...It's been done,...NEXT !

    The subtext of Jazz Scan pretty much sums up The 14 Jazz Orchestra in the sense that is describes what Bonsanti and the expert musicianship are cutting a new and fresh approach to...

    Jazz ain't dead; it's just evolving!

    Bottom line,...Bonsanti and the 14 are blazing a new trail in jazz composition and performance.

    Get used to it,..there's more to come to the jazz listeners ears.

    Scchhwweettt !