‘COLORS OF A BAND’ (WDR MR674-799)
(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
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).
Colors Of A Ban
1. Cherokee Desert Yellow
2. Because I Love You Candy Stripe
3. Dolphin Dance Aquamarine
4. Body and Soul Deep Space
5. Better Days Ahead Rainbow
6. Nefertiti Bronze
7. My Foolish Heart Burgundy
8. Comes Love Old Gold
9. Things to Come Fire–engine
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).
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
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
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.
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
Copyright © 2001,
Jazz Professional. All Rights Reserved