Big Heart Machine – Big Heart Machine

The Music

The Words

I’ve been waiting on this release for as long as it has been announced (or very nearly so), but, when it was finally released, it was impossible for me to listen to it attentively and, thus, prepare a short review before the month’s end. It is doubtless that I can say that Big Heart Machine would’ve made it in August’s monthly recommendations, but you’ll have to be content with this belated, overdue one.

Big Heart Machine is the eighteen-piece big band under the baton of Miho Hazama and the production of Darcy James Argue, another Read more

Les Rugissants – D’humain et d’animal

The Music

The Words

Les Rugissants is a nu jazz ensemble from Paris, France, and they recently released their latest album: D’humain et d’animalOf Human and Animal, if you allow me the free translation. At the junction of progressive rock and big band jazz, Les Rugissants plays an emotive and intellectually compelling brand of jazz that I must make sure you not miss.

After the lyrical and rather romantic introduction of “Le visage”, we get to an interesting \(\frac{5}{4}\) motif in “Second hymne delphique à Apollon”, which gets expanded upon throughout the song, quite rewardingly so. At … Read more

John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble – All Can Work

The Music

The Words

Twenty-one. That’s how many people play in this so-called “large ensemble”. This jazz orchestra is noticeable in many regards, but the most important of which is their musical output. All Can Work came out on January 26, and it represents over an hour of amazingly well put together modern jazz compositions that often remind me of some of the best prog rock out there. I’ve got to say this might be due to Theo Bleckmann’s voice, which is perhaps the most reassuring thing in this quite avant-garde environment. While the aim of the work here is … Read more

Valtozash – Wizard-Bird

The Australian jazz metal fusion orchestra Valtozash is quite a newcomer, when it comes to their young age as a group, but they’ve already made their marks with their 2016 debut album, Iron Maiden Voyage. Barely more than a year later, they’re back with a sophomore release in Wizard-Bird. For those unaware, the ensemble is quite extensive: five saxophone players, three for trumpets, four trombones, and a vibraphonist all play alongside the traditional guitars-bass-drums trio. On top of that, the track from which the album title is taken features the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra! Through musical humour and a … Read more

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra – Vula

The massive eighteen-piece big band, or small ensemble, from Germany Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra released, in early July, their latest album in Vula. The hourlong release, which features seven tracks, is very eclectic and dense. Their music has a sometimes retro quality to it, which takes you back to the music of the thirties or forties, but retain an undeniably modern aspect. The vast array of musicians play demanding compositions, like the fast-paced and hectic ‘In Light of Turmoil’, blaring almost relentlessly for more than thirteen minutes. I can only imagine how the drummer’s right arm feels after this… … Read more