Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Microscopic Septet - Manhattan Moonrise (Cuneiform Records, 2014)

After a lengthy hiatus during the 1990's, the vivacious little big band The Microscopic Septet has come back with a vengeance over the past ten years. With an approach that covers much of jazz history, they advance a methodology that begins with the territory bands of the 1930's and moves through the Knitting Factory heyday of the 1980's and then then lands gracefully in the post-modern jazz scene of today. The group consists of Joel Forrester on piano, Phillip Johnston on soprano saxophone,  Richard Dworkin on drums, David Sewelson on baritone saxophone, David Hofstra on bass, Don Davis on alto saxophone and Mike Hashim on tenor saxophone. The band's music is extroverted, friendly and accessible as exemplified on "Manhattan Moonrise" which develops a maddeningly jaunty and danceable riff and builds in an epic ear-worm. There a nice bass solo featured on this song, with the wailing horns swaying mightily. "Obeying the Chemicals" takes a meat and potatoes approach, building in the blues and playing roughly and energetically with a hard charging nature. With a wonderful title and sentiment, "Occupy Your Life" is sly and playful, prancing and dancing around excitedly. This a very fun and successful album; the musicians are very tight and play strong arrangements and use them as jumping off for fine solo statements. Manhattan Moonrise -

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