Chicago Jazz Philharmonic: One Thousand Questions: One Answer


One Thousand Questions, One Answer


Chicago Jazz Philharmonic


Collective Creativity (3Sixteen Records 31604)

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Orbert Davis (piccolo trumpet), Ari Brown (tenor saxophone), NIcole Mitchell (flute), Ed Wilkerson (tenor, clarinet, didgeridoo),

Ryan Cohan (piano), Stewart Miller (bass), Ernie Adams (drums). Plus symphonic jazz orchestra conducted by Orbert Davis


Composed and arranged by Orbert Davis


Recorded: Chicago, IL, date not given. Released January 2009.


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

There have been many attempts to merge jazz and classical music into a coherent symphonic whole, from Paul Whiteman onward to Gunther Schuller, Lalo Schifrin, Gil Evans, and others. One of the most recent and successful efforts comes from the 55+ piece Chicago Jazz Philharmonic, which is led by talented Chicago trumpeter Orbert Davis, its co-founder, composer-in-residence, arranger, conductor, and artistic director. The centerpiece of the CJP's new Collective Creativity debut CD is the nine-part "Collective Creativity Suite," an eclectic venture through the worlds of 20th century classical music, post bop/freejazz, and African and Caribbean rhythms, with four notable and enthusiastic AACM members along for the ride.

"One Thousand Questions, One Answer" is perhaps the most diverse and appealing piece in the Suite. The opening orchestral prelude is a heady combination of Stravinsky and free jazz influences, as well as suggesting an extravagant, scene-setting fanfare from an old Hollywood melodrama. The succeeding main theme comes as a total and delightful surprise, a perky and whimsical staccato creation. Ari Brown's probing tenor solo is supported by just piano, bass, and drums at first, until Nicole Mitchell's piccolo and Davis's piccolo trumpet engage him contrapuntally with thematic riffs and asides. Mitchell's assured, darting solo is similarly enhanced by Davis and Brown. Davis's inventive improvisation is played with great dexterity and passion, in turn spurred on by Mitchell and Brown. The three featured soloists then unite joyfully on the theme, before the orchestra builds gradually to full participation. This memorable track comes from one of the best CDs released so far in 2009.

Reviewer: Scott Albin


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