Friday, August 16, 2013

Alan Ferber - NYC Jazz Record

Alan Ferber
March Sublime

The concept of a sublime march sounds a little
strenuous. Most organized walking isn’t that great but
maybe it’s a reference to the month. Whether
trombonist Alan Ferber is enlisting in the army or
awaiting the change of seasons, he has brought along a
tremendous group of musicians to join him. Ferber
composed more than half of the tunes, nearly all of
which provide ample space amid the arrangements for
the limited solo count to maximize exploration.

His take on Björk’s slow-burn “Hyper-Ballad” is
much less restrained than the Icelandic original. Horns
rise over a quivering synthesizer before drummer
Mark Ferber adds a militaristic groove. Keyboardist
David Cook is gradually left alone to build the tension
before a smattering of brass dances over aggressive
handclaps. The manic swell leads to an engaging
exchange between trumpeter Alex Norris and
trombonist Ryan Keberle. “Wildwood”, an homage to
the site of Ferber’s Northern California wedding, gets
a designated intro track, then launches into the rich
ballad. The horns move cautiously before guitarist
Anthony Wilson takes a quivering solo over the
deliberate rhythm section. The title track is regulated
by Mark Ferber’s snare drum. Trumpeter Taylor
Haskins caws with a persistent echo effect before the
band bounces in on an uptick. Alan Ferber takes a
mournful solo, sighing like stardust above Cook and
bassist Matt Pavolka’s prodding. Haskins closes the
tune with a hazy return. Ferber’s “The Compass” flies
in within a straightahead horn blast. Tenor saxophonist
John Ellis builds up to a rousing horn accompaniment
while trombonist Josh Roseman summons the
Framptone for a muted solo, which converts that
human-like trombone quality into a vocoder. It’s a
unique effect eventually abandoned for a well-spaced
rip alongside the band.

On this record, Ferber has presented a modern big
band with modest touches of the strange and electrified.
Ferber can bend and mold many voices into an
engaging whole and he seems happy to share his forms
with a talented array of instrumentalists.

Alan Ferber @ NYC Jazz Record

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