Best Large Jazz Ensemble Jim McNeely and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band Barefoot Dances and Other Visions

GRAMMY Nomination for:
Best Large Jazz Ensemble
Jim McNeely and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band Barefoot Dances and Other Visions

Jim McNeely and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band
Barefoot Dances and Other Visions
et Arts 301721)
FRANKFURT RADIO BIG BAND (HR-BIGBAND) JIM McNEELY conductor, HEINZ-DIETER SAUERBORN soprano and alto saxophones,  flute, alto and bass  flutes, clarinet, OLIVER LEICHT soprano and alto saxophones,  flute, alto  flute, B  flat and alto clarinets, TONY LAKATOS tenor saxophone,  flute, alto  flute, STEFFEN WEBER tenor saxophone, flute, bass  flute, clarinet, RAINER HEUTE baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, alto  flute, FRANK WELLERT trumpet,  flügelhorn THOMAS VOGEL trumpet,  flügelhorn, MARTIN AUER trumpet,  flügelhorn, AXEL SCHLOSSER trumpet,  flügelhorn, GÜNTER BOLLMANN trombone, PETER FEIL trombone, CHRISTIAN JAKSØ trombone, euphonium, valve trombone, MANFRED HONETSCHLÄGER bass trombone, PETER REITER piano, MARTIN SCALES guitar, THOMAS HEIDEPRIEM bass, JEAN PAUL HÖCHSTÄDTER drums

Olaf Stötzler, Orchestra Manager/Producer
Axel Gutzler: Recording/Editing/Mixing/Mastering
Michael Wayszak: Recording Engineer:
Barefoot Dances and Other Visions is a seven-part suite composed in 2014 for the Frankfurt Radio Big Band. Each piece expresses a different kind of fantasy. We performed it live in two concerts in Frankfurt February ’14, then recorded it in the studio in September of that year.

When I wrote this music I had been working with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band for about six years, so I knew the players quite well. The suite was written so that every one of the band’s soloists is placed in a framework that would be both familiar and challenging. Each piece features a pair of soloists, playing individually, sometimes together. Several of the pieces begin with a chamber-sized group, “in front of the curtain”. Then the curtain rises to reveal the whole band, having assumed yet another formation.

Bob’s Here imagines the return of composer/trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, who died in 2011. Black Snow conjures up the vision of a normally tranquil scene, still tranquil but rendered improbably dark. Barefoot Dances are just that, something I’ve never actually done in my life. A Glimmer of Hope tries its best to be optimistic, a difficult task these days. Redman Rides Again imagines the return of the arranger/reedman Don Redman. Among other things he was known for writing fantastic clarinet trios. This piece features a real clarinet trio, and a second “trio” formed by Oliver Leicht and his harmonized clarinet. Falling Upwards: try as I may, I still find it impossible. The Cosmic Hodge-Podge offers a vision of the cosmos where galaxies are replaced by blocks of sound; super novas become solo explosions; and a single black hole emerges at the end, emitting just a smidgen of light.     Jim McNeely

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