Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Alex Oliverio's Sunshine Ensemble - Sunshine Ensemble (2018)

This excellent folk-jazz recording is as inviting as a warm smile. Alex Oliverio’s homage to the Phoenix apartment complexes of his youth rolls out thick melodies a mile wide. His acoustic guitar is nicely balanced out by trumpet, saxophones, and bass clarinet. A pedal steel adds a little extra dose of twang, and a Fender Rhodes brings some welcome fuzziness. Of special interest is the way Oliverio’s septet is able to maintain a contemplative quality with music that often keeps to a gallop and expresses itself boldly. Folk-jazz has long since been a curiosity on the modern scene, and it has branched out into all kinds of directions. Want an idea of how Sunshine Ensemble shakes out? Think Kenny Warren’s 2014 recording Laila and Smitty.

1. Tana Lea
2. Silver Oaks
3. La Vita
4. the Mogollon March

Ray Larsen - Trumpet
Levi Gillis - Tenor Saxophone
Neil Welch - Tenor Saxophone / Bass Clarinet
Alex Oliverio - Acoustic Guitar
Cameron Sharif - Fender Rhodes / Synthesizer
Luke Bergman - Bass / Pedal Steel
Thomas Campbell - Drums

Mixed by Luke Bergman
Mastered by Nicholas Wilbur