Zach Rich


oa2 22225


iTunes - $9.99

MUSIC REVIEW BY Ferdinand Dupuis Panther, Jazz'halo (Belgium)


Briefly quoted from the press release for the album: "Trombonist, composer & arranger Zach Rich's "Solidarity" is an expansive, vivid program of original music, orchestrated for his Denver-based jazz quintet and chamber orchestra. Rich channels mentors, stage-mates & influences—from Billy Childs to John Clayton and Rufus Reid—infusing the music with a mergence of modern jazz dynamism and contemporary classical counterpoint, while his playing resonates with a warm, soulful lyricism and crisp rhythmic pop."

Anyone who reads this "Introduction" must be prepared to engage with a jazz formation and at the same time with a chamber orchestra, i.e. with wind and string sections. This is certainly not to everyone's taste, especially since a string orchestra tends to sound very much like notated classical music and stands in contrast to the open forms of jazz. So, let's get involved in the sound melange of strings and brass when the first track on the musical menu is "Seraph". At the same time, the winds seem to be a little absorbed in the "sea of sound of the strings", even if we perceive an alternating sequence between strings and winds. In addition, there is a sophisticated tenor saxophone solo in the aforementioned piece, thanks to Austin Cebulske. Cymbal noise accompanies the saxophonist and also the trombonist Zach Rich. "Loops and loops of sound" unfold. And then, yes, then we listen to the soft string sound of Denin Slage-Koch. But the aforementioned instrumentalists do not come to the right development. The strings cover the different timings of the blower and the stringed instrument too much.

Do we hear a bowed cello at the beginning of "Broken Mirrors"? Probably. Or is it the viola whose tonal colorations reach our ears? And then violins, viola and the other strings set the tone, accompanied by cymbal buzzing. If you listen to the strings, you get the impression that you are listening to film music at best, which Zach Rich also joins in with throaty onomatopoeia on his trombone. The orchestral of the strings obviously leads the sceptre. This is a bit of a shame in view of the large number of soloists beyond the strings. Yes, Zach Rich unfolds his sometimes low-pitched sound of the trombone, rattling-roaring, throaty. But in order to really appreciate the lines that the trombonist creates, the rest of his fellow musicians would have to be silent and vocally step back. Shane Endsley is thankfully given space for his trumpet solo without being overwhelmed by other instrumentalists, even if drummer Gabriel Mangione's cymbal whirlwind seems very exuberant. Oh yes, unfortunately the reviewer couldn't hear the clarinetist and oboist in the piece, even though that's indicated in the line-up. Next, we are confronted with "Solidarity". The style that we have experienced in the previous pieces continues. Freed from the "meteor shower of strings", pianist Gavin Dunn plays energetically. Stepped cascades pour out, replaced by the solo of bassist Seth Lewis, who appears very quiet and restrained. He is hard to make out in his bass lines, crushed by the omnipresent cymbal drumming.

After "Reprise" with melancholy string expressions and "June" - pay attention to the dramatic string parts, which somehow also radiate Wagnerian spirit - we listen to a hymn: "Anthem". Here, too, the melange between strings and winds is characteristic. There is more monotony and all kinds of sound to be heard, even if here and there the musicians of the jazz ensemble spread out vocally in solos. But all this is lost in a certain undifferentiation of the condensed sound particles. The album ended with "The Heavyweight". Anyone who appreciates performances by large orchestras, especially string orchestras, will certainly enjoy the album.

Translated from German





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