Monday, July 17, 2017

Rasmus Henriksen Big Band feat. Amanda Lagoni – Out Of The Shadows (2016)

Rasmus Henriksen Big Band feat. Amanda Lagoni

Rasmus Henriksen - conductor
Tomasz Dąbrowski - trumpet
Wojciech Morelowski - trumpet
Łukasz Borowicki - guitar
Mariusz Praśniewski - bass
and others

Out Of The Shadows


By Adam Baruch

This is the debut album by Danish composer / arranger / conductor / bassoonist Rasmus Henriksen, recorded with an international Big Band comprising of musicians associated with the Odense Music Academy, which includes twelve musicians, several of which are from Poland, like trumpeters Tomasz Dąbrowski and Wojciech Morelowski, guitarist Łukasz Borowicki and bassist Mariusz Praśniewski. The album presents eight pieces, six of which are original compositions by Henriksen and two are standards. Fours of the pieces feature vocals performed by Amanda Lagoni.

The music is well within the mainstream Jazz idiom, with excellent compositions by the leader and of course the wonderful sound of a Big Band that melts my heart every time. The arrangements are very elegant and interesting, typical of European Big Band approach, which treats the Big Band as a complex instrument. In view of the fact that there are so few Big Band albums released each year these days, every one of them is a blessing.

The Big Band performs excellently, obviously well rehearsed and including gifted instrumentalists. There are plenty of superb, albeit short, solos by the band members, testifying to the generally high level of the players. The vocal tracks are also first-rate, much to my surprise, as singing with a Bing Band requires a special talent, but Lagoni handles the task splendidly.

The overall sound and atmosphere are at times a bit too "retro", mimicking the great Swing orchestras of times long gone, but that does not spoil the great fun one can have with this music. This is pure pleasure from start to finish and mainstream Big Band/Orchestral Jazz should enjoy this effort to the max. Very impressive for a debut album and definitely worth getting!

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