Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy: Lament




Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy


I Only Have Eyes For You (ECM 25034-1)

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Lester Bowie (trumpet), Stanton Davis (trumpet), Malachi Thompson (trumpet), Bruce Purse (trumpet), Craig Harris (trombone), Steve Turre (trombone), Vincent Chancey (French horn), Bob Stewart (tuba), Phillip Wilson (drums).

Composed by Malachi Thompson


Recorded: Ludwigsburg, Germany, February 1985


Rating: 84/100 (learn more)

The larger the ensemble, the more tonal variety is possible—that's certainly a big reason why most of those who are considered jazz's greatest composers wrote for big bands. Trumpeter Lester Bowie eschewed reeds and strings in the makeup of his Brass Fantasy, but the nonet nevertheless provided its arrangers and composers with a wide array of possibilities. Composer/trumpeter Malachi Thompson takes good advantage of the tools at his disposal, exploiting unusual instruments (didgeridoo), the capacity of the individual musicians to create unusual sounds (Bowie himself wrote the book on that), writing attractive voicings, and using various combinations to produce interesting sonorities. Essentially a bossa nova bookended by free and chorale-like episodes, "Lament" doesn't offer much in the way of melody, but it does evoke a series of progressively complex if harmonically static atmospheres that, taken in total, constitute a work of some modest beauty.

Reviewer: Chris Kelsey

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