Newport Jazz Fest 2017 – Maria Schneider

Some music just swoops down and whisks you away. Those confronted with a lack of overt beauty in their lives need only turn to composer-arranger Schneider’s The Thompson Fields (Artist Share), a luminous meditation on her Minnesota farm roots that’s as vivid a sound portrait as Ellington’s “Harlem Air Shaft” or Mingus’ “Hell View of Bellevue (Lock ‘Em Up).” Interpreting the charts – which also salute the power of Midwest storms and the passing of two of her favorite musicians – her renowned 18-piece outfit invests in grandeur and relies on perpetual lyricism to carry the day. “I pictured each soloist as a person walking through a landscape and commenting on it,” she told the New York Times when the album hit in 2015. Schneider’s music has always been vivid, articulating moods with a singular expertise. She writes for the road, and a two-lane blacktop points towards vista after vista. She writes for the heavens and suddenly everyone in the room is swooping through the sky. The eloquence comes from Schneider‘s pen of course, but it’s enhanced by the unique calibration provided by her ensemble. Its collective flow is one of jazz’s current wonders, making the subtleties sparkle and the grander statements resound. If any outfit was made to fill the gorgeous expanse of Narragansett Bay with sound, it’s this one.

Newport Jazz Festival 2017 Schedule  / Aug 4 – 6
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