Friday, July 1, 2016

USA Michael Formanek-The Distance (ECM 2016)

Michael Formanek
The Distance
Michael Formanek s Ensemble Kolossus

Saxes/Woodwinds: Loren Stillman (alto saxophone); Oscar Noriega (alto sax/ clarinet, bass clarinet); Chris Speed (tenor sax, clarinet); Brian Settles (tenor sax, flute); Tim Berne (baritone sax)

Trumpets: Dave Ballou, Ralph Alessi, Shane Endsley, Kirk Knuffke (cornet)

Trombones: Alan Ferber, Jacob Garchik, Ben Gerstein, Jeff Nelson (bass trombone, contrabass trombone)

Marimba: Patricia Brennan

Guitar: Mary Halvorson

Piano: Kris Davis

Double-bass: Michael Formanek

Drums: Tomas Fujiwara

Conductor: Mark Helias

The Distance represents a grand creative leap for bassist-composer Michael Formanek, following two widely lauded ECM releases featuring his quartet with Tim Berne, Craig Taborn and Gerald Cleaver. The new album showcases his texturally rich compositions for the dynamic 18-piece big band he has playfully dubbed Ensemble Kolossus. The project saw some of the most distinctive musicians on the New York scene bonding to realize Formaneks epic design, as he re-imagined what a big-band can be. Channeling sounds from the classic to the modern, he also composed for individual soloists in the Ellingtonian tradition. Along with the dusky romanticism of the title track, The Distance features the Exoskeleton suite a kaleidoscopic musical experience in which Formaneks bold, beautiful vision for 21st-century large-ensemble jazz comes vibrantly to life.