Half Notes: Earl MacDonald – Re: Visions (2010)

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By Mark Saleski

Subtitled “Works for Jazz Orchestra,” this album showcases the arranging talents of Earl MacDonald as well as a stellar cast of cohorts. I have to be honest here and say that big-ish bands are not usually my thing. That is, unless they’re doing something “odd” (see: Carla Bley, The Either Orchestra). This recording grabbed me from the first note, specifically, the giant horn blast that opens “Friday Night At The Cadillac Club.” There are a lot of styles to consider here, from the blues of that opening track to the joyous swing of “Bu Who.” The ears must always be trusted though, and they pick “Character Defect” as the standout. It’s one of those pieces that has a lot of inner detail. There’s a lot going on and yet the theme, built over time, is never lost to the individual moments. MacDonald’s piano playing is terrific here.

Half Notes is a quick-take music feature on Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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