The Road Not Taken
Art & Judy
I Won’t Be Your Man
Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts ensembles
Recorded 2013 [77:38]
US college ensembles have depth, and there’s breadth to the depth too. The Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts has constructed a
programme around two of its ensembles, each named after the respective producers – Group Giz and Group Gunn, where the former refers to Greg Gisbert and
the latter to Eric Gunnison. The two young student groups alternate their ways through the 14 song disc, which lasts a generous 77-minutes.
The two line-ups are quite similar in terms of instrumentation- two trumpets, trombone, tenor and alto saxes in the case of Group Giz and trumpet, tenor
and alto saxes and vibraphone for Group Gunn - with rhythm sections, obviously. Group Gunn takes a Bop cum Funk line in its first two outings – Pop and Gotta Listen with good solos. Its somewhat darker approach on The Road Not Taken has an admixture of vampy funk as well,
whilst Buenas – a diffuse, not especially imaginative piece – does have a good vibes solo and alto too. There’s some delighted band laughter at
the end of Grampma, a jagged, mosaic-like piece that clearly went well for the group whilst the graceful ballad Art & Judy has a fine
lyrical trumpet solo.
Group Gunn opens with the elliptical, finely textured Outer Space, topped by a good, though discursive guitar solo. There’s a straight-ahead Blue
Note feel to Tai Chi and a swinging Dexter Gordon groove to Home. Angular funk ‘chaos’ infiltrates Quirkatude whilst a New
Orleans second line atmosphere is generated by the boogaloo business going down in 3OT – an apt title, though even the hand claps don’t inspire a
sustained level of soloing. It promises but ultimately doesn’t deliver. That this group is the more stylistically adventurous – albeit unfocused – is
confirmed by the free thrash on Afterthoughts, which gives way to a sensitive sonic wash.
I’m sure several of the students here will go on to have important careers in jazz. There’s a lot of likeable ambition to be heard here.