Half Notes: Steve Horowitz – New Monsters (2012)

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photo courtesy of Posi-Tone Records

Steve Horowitz can be considered a jazz musician, but you’re not likely to have heard some of his music through the same channels as other jazz musicians. One of his main gigs is writing scores for movies, TV and even interactive media, and his accomplishments include scoring the award winning film Super Size Me. He’s has also composed for MTV, won a Grammy for the bluegrass album True Life Blues, The Songs Of Bill Monroe, and currently serves as audio director for Nickelodean Online.

For his latest album New Monsters, Horowitz might appear to take a backseat to his bandmates, as nearly all the songs are composed by the tenor saxophonist Dan Plonsey. Horowitz, on electric bass, even allows Plonsey, saxophonist/flautist Steve Adams and pianist Scott Looney to undertake all the soloing for the quintet (rounded out with Jim Bove on drums). However, Horowitz is apparently applying his experience in both classical and jazz music to devise some crafty arrangements that makes Plonsey’s songs wobble with pizzazz. One tune can take on the flavor of Central European chamber music (“Imperfect Life”) and another one will flirt with free jazz (“Journey To The East”) and another one might include elements of both (“Herald Of Zombies”). The best manifestation of Horowitz’s incisive musical vision on this record is the inspired mashup of John Coltrane’s “India” with Eric Dolphy’s The Red Planet” (Youtube below), a concocted combination that works so naturally well, you’re bound to swear it was originally conceived that way. A little zany but a lot of unpredictable fun, New Monsters is what happens when seriously good musicians make a tightly arranged but loose played record.

New Monsters releases March 20 on Posi-Tone Records.

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‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron

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