Sounds Heard: J.C. Sanford Orchestra—Views From The Inside

JC Sanford Orchestra: Views From The Inside
(Whirlwind Recordings 4652)

Performers:
JC Sanford: composer, arranger, trombone; Taylor Haskins: trumpet, flugelhorn, harmonizer; Matt Holman: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dan Willis: oboe, piccolo, flute, soprano sax; Ben Kono: English horn, bass clarinet, clarinet, flute, alto sax; Chris Bacas: clarinet, soprano, tenor sax; Kenny Berger: contra-alto clarinet, bassoon, alto flute; Mark Patterson: trombone; Jeff Nelson: tuba, bass trombone; Chris Komer: French horn; Jacob Garchik: accordion; Tom Beckham: vibraphone; Meg Okura: violin, electronics; Will Martina: cello, electronics; Aidan O’Donnell: bass; Satoshi Takeishi: percussion; Asuka Kakitani: conductor (tracks 6 & 12).

The transformations occurring in the world of jazz-oriented large ensembles—the big band and the jazz orchestra—are nothing short of inspiring. Thanks to groups such as John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble and Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society (to name just a couple) there has been an extension of musical possibilities so great that there’s no telling what will reach one’s ears. Composer-trombonist-conductor JC Sanford’s recent release Views From The Inside on Whirlwind Recordings delivers loads of aural surprises wrapped up in layers of jazz orchestra.

The 15-piece orchestra sports a number of unconventional instrument choices, such as accordion, oboe, and tastefully employed electronics, which result in unusual and highly compelling textures. Sanford is a masterful orchestrator, skillfully weaving together a somewhat disparate selection of instruments into delightfully intriguing forms. Matt Holman’s expansive trumpet solo in An Attempt At Serenity and Jacob Garchick’s spastic accordion ostinatos that open Verrazano Bikeride are just two examples of the range of expression on this album. The compositions are intended to be tributes to various aspects of Sanford’s life in Brooklyn, and indeed it sounds as if he soaked up the sounds of the streets and figured out how to gracefully incorporate them into his music.

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