Seattle Womens Jazz Orchestra

Meeting of the Waters

oa2 22033

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MUSIC REVIEW BY Ric Bang, The Davis Enterprise

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The "almost all" women's orchestra - a few brass players, the drummer and musical director are guys - draws upon a cadre of 29 musicians who live, work and perform in the Seattle area. They utilize a standard 17-piece unit for this album and their concerts.

Most of the musicians also play with other groups in that locale, so they certainly qualify as professionals.

This CD is the ensemble's second release. Unlike the first, which consisted of familiar standards, all these tunes were specially arranged. The band is beautifully rehearsed and, as a unit, is at least the equal of many better-known "male groups" performing today.

The band swings smoothly thanks to an excellent rhythm section; bassist Rachael Contorer is solid as a rock, and pianist Ann Reynolds plays great background.

As often is the case with groups that don't play together often, the solo work isn't up to the level achieved by the total orchestra. I don't consider that a major fault; it takes years for good musicians to excel as soloists.

That said, you'll enjoy several highlights from individuals: Jennifer Kellogg's trombone work on "The Tulip Wonder" is exceptional, and I love the tone she gets; Greta Matassa's vocals on "Self Portrait" are quite moving; and Rachel Contorer's bass, Lisa Gordanier's alto sax and Ann Reynolds solos on "Waltz Of The Jellyfish" are keepers.

I hope Seattle continues to support the group. The level of improvement between this band's first release and "Meeting of the Waters" indicates the musicians have been working hard; it shows great promise for their future.






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