Jazz Professional               


CD Review





  Cherokee (vocal), Because I Love You, Dolphin Dance, Body & Soul (vocal), Better Days Ahead, Nefertiti, My Foolish Heart, Comes Love (vocal), Things To Come, Memories Of The Future, Hadem, Gentle Interlude, Freedom Dance (vocal)

  Collective Personnel: Jan Oosthof, Andreas Haderer, Ack Van Rooyen, Johannes Faber, Torsten Benkenstein (trumpets); Oliver Leicht, Heiner Wiberny, Heinz Von Hermann, John Ruocco, Stefen Schorn, Elmar Frey, Mathias Erlewein (reeds); Bart Van Lier, Dan Gottshall, Jurgen Neudert, Eric Van Lier, Rainer Muller (trombones); Peter Tiehuis (guitar), Joerg Reiter (piano); Thomas Stabenow (bass); Bruno Castellucci (drums); Roland Peil (percussion).


Peter Herbolzheimer’s

Colors Of A Band

1.     Cherokee                         Desert Yellow
2.     Because I Love You        Candy Stripe
3.     Dolphin Dance                  Aquamarine
4.     Body and Soul                  Deep Space Indigo Violet
5.     Better Days Ahead          Rainbow
6.     Nefertiti                           Bronze
7.     My Foolish Heart             Burgundy
8.     Comes Love                     Old Gold
9.     Things to Come                Fire–engine Red
10.  Memories of the Future  Apple Blossom White
11.  Hadern                             Butterscotch
12.  Gentle Interlude              Lilac
13.  Freedom Dance                Rush Green

On this album Peter Herbolzheimer has done something never achieved before—he has revolutionised scoring for the big jazz orchestra. Things will never be quite the same again. Gone are the heavily thumping rhythm section, the moaning saxophones, the aggressively barking brass. In their place he has dreamy, heaven–like sounds, achieved by writing horizontally, using pure unison counterpoint and intricate interlocked moving lines instead of conventional, heavily anchored vertical harmony. His magic brush transforms the band, and its music, with wide, bold sweeps of color from the artist’s palette. The voice of Dianne Reeves now becomes a color itself, changing hues rapidly as she progresses smoothly from light vocal offerings such as Freedom Dance, through the playful jazz interpolations of Cherokee to the incredible out–of–this–world trip of Body and Soul. Let this music wash over you, cleanse you, brighten your life. For here are the true colors of a band.
Dianne’s voice over the LA style intro of Cherokee sounds so uncannily like Flora Purim that you wonder whether Chick Corea hasn’t suddenly wandered into the studio. But Dianne is doing her own thing here with a vengeance. It’s just that now and again she manages to sound, for fleeting moments, like somebody else. She sings a scat chorus here that will give you all kinds of memories, some, indeed, of our beloved Ella, but she is always in complete command. Later on she launches into a chase with John Ruocco’s tenor saxophone. Now he sounds like someone else, Gonsalves perhaps, playing with a fast, light, fluid sub–tone, delicately pulling out his own special scales and runs from the innermost recesses of a truly remarkable mind. Here John is Harlequin to Dianne’s Columbine. Chick never had a singer, a tenor player, or a brass section to match these. And there is an ending that would have made even composer Ray Noble burst with pride.
Because I Love You was composed and arranged by Jerry van Rooyen as a jazz waltz for brother Ack. A quiet start leads to an almost playful solo from the master of the fluegelhorn. More glorious brass (is there another word we could use here, like magnificent, delightful, splendid, brilliant? The choice is all yours).
Herbie Hancock’s capricious Dolphin Dance is a showcase for Marc Godfroid, who demonstrates the art of playing the trombone in the upper violin register with the greatest of ease. Torsten Mass scored this one. Conventional saxes are heard for a brief moment, there are some stab figures from the brass and one glorious ensemble, but Marc carries the torch right through to the end.
Now to Body and Soul. As far as I am concerned the album could just as well have been titled Body and Soul, for this score is the be–all and end–all of musical innovation. When I first heard it I just sat there, dumbfounded. Peter has taken Dianne’s stage band version of Johnny Green’s age–old tune and created something of such dynamic force and beauty that it takes one’s breath away. Over his scintillating spectrum of tone colors Dianne’s is a voice from heaven. There is an insistent, recurring bass motif throughout, sliding through a time warp that belongs in deep outer space. In fact, were it not for Dianne and Peter, Thomas Stabenow would almost steal all the thunder on this one by his gorgeous bass playing alone. A beautifully controlled brass/saxophone ensemble doubled with guitar briefly takes off some of the pressure, then Heinz von Hermann’s flute bursts out of it, soaring joyously like a skylark. Don’t try and work out the tempo or timing here. This is the recording of the century. Listen to it again and again, and prepare to be emotionally drained every time.
Better Days Ahead introduces the kind of samba that only Peter knows how to write. You’ll hear frantic jungle sounds with a cheeky tree monkey hooting at the beginning. A great wall of sound brass chorus is followed by a welcome guitar interlude from Peter Tiehuis, backed by the rest of the rhythm section, and that marvellous bass. More angry wrangling from the brass leads to a sparkling piano solo, all acoustic. A great grand finale follows some smart, tricky counterpoint. Dig bass trombonist Eric van Lier at the low end, arm outstretched to seventh, or maybe eighth position on the horn.
Two great lead trumpets on this album, by the way: Jan Oosthof and Andy Haderer— take a bow, here, guys. My men.
On Wayne Shorter’s Nefertiti there is a lot of spooky clarinet and bass clarinet from John Ruocco and Steffen Schorn to create the correct mood for the compelling melodic line. The bass almost walks away with the prize yet again, but of course that honour goes to Peter, the Master Painter, himself. Eric excels once more, his rich bass trombone notes enhancing the brass section down in the infrasonic. After the sparkling fluegelhorn of Johannes Faber there’s some more eerie woodwind ad lib from John and Steffen. The sound of the fluegelhorn takes us out, and the number dies away to a desolate Daliesque landscape.
My Foolish Heart has a plaintive alto saxophone solo by Heiner Wiberny, with harmonies and a delicate lace filigree you never heard before behind Victor Young’s melody. The alto is lilting, light and graceful, backed by subdued brass figures. This is a melodic recording. A sudden flurry of double tempo from the brass is calmed once more by the purest of alto tones.
Dianne sings Lew Brown’s stirring ballad Comes Love like a youthful Ella, with the saxes and trombones swinging away behind her. The whole band takes off, sounding amazingly like Duke for a moment and Heinz von Hermann interposes some thoughtful tenor. This is another title you’ll want to hear again and again.
Shades of Diz on Gillespie’s old spectacular Things To Come, amazingly arranged here as a salsa by Torsten Mass. There’s a carefree alto solo from Oliver Leicht, with an occasional grunt from Eric, just to let you know he’s still around. Then a flight–of–the–albatross solo from lead trumpet man Andy, singing away up in the piccolo range of the horn, and rounded off by a dense joyful tutti chorus.
Eric’s brother, Bart van Lier composed Memories of the Future and solos himself on a chart arranged by fellow countryman, Henk Huizinga. Bart gives us a slow, soulful treatment of the melody, then starts off his ad lib with a quick aside from Work Song before getting down to serious business on one of his usual incredible solos. Stirring brass unisons intervene with dissonant harmonies followed by a screaming ensemble, but Bart quickly brings things back under control. Those who know him will sit waiting for him to hit some impossible high note at the end of this song. Wait for it… well he doesn’t do it, not this time, ending instead on something borrowed, something blue: notes and colors perfectly fitting for this album.
Hadern is a solo vehicle for Heinz von Hermann, written and arranged by himself. Drummer Bruno Castellucci comes to the fore here. Up to now he has been ticking over skilfully in the background, driving the band with his own special brand of whispering power, bursting out occasionally when needed, only to sink back again with the controls at his fingertips, perfectly in command. Heinz is compelling, as always. There’s some amazing Bill Holman type counterpoint in this number, and at one point the band conjures up strong memories of the Stan Kenton orchestra, of the period when Carl Fontana and Lennie Niehaus were on the band. The number builds and builds to an incredibly exciting finish.
Getting near the end now, and Jorg Reiter’s delicately cascading piano emerges with another glorious background in Peter’s Gentle Interlude. Here Ack van Rooyen appears at his most soulful, caressing the notes on his fluegelhorn almost sensuously. Hear, too, the magnificent brass, saxophone and woodwind sections as they cover the entire range of the sound spectrum, and enjoy the true colors of this great band.
The final number brings a hypnotic rhythm, pulsing beat, dreamy background and a joyful Dianne. Her playful mood on Freedom Dance is infectious. She wrote this one herself, and she takes off on the melody, happily shaking and twirling it, making us all feel very, very happy, too. Like all Peter’s scores this is written so exquisitely that you begin to wish you could hear the band all by itself, maybe just once without the vocal. The backgrounds are a work of art all alone, but Dianne wins the day with her lovely light voice, and just when you think you’ve reached the threshold of perfection, Ack comes in on fluegelhorn with another light voice of his own and adds the superb to the absolute.

This outstanding album was brilliantly engineered by Carlos Albrecht, financed and supported by the West German Radio Station, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), Cologne. We should all go down on our knees and fervently thank them for making such a musical feast possible– and for showing us the true colors of this remarkable band and the glorious Dianne Reeves.  Cover notes by Ron Simmonds

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