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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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COLORADO
CONSERVATORY
FOR THE JAZZ ARTS

Hang Time

TAPESTRY 76020-2

 

 

Pop

Gotta Listen

Outer Space

Tai Chi

The Road Not Taken

Home

Quirkatude

Buenas

3OT

One Sunset

Afterthoughts

Grampma

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.

Jonathan Woolf



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