Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Charles Pillow Large Ensemble - Electric Miles (SUMMIT RECORDS 2018)

NYC seasoned BIG band led, conducted and arranged by Charles Pillow celebrate the early electric period of Miles Davis!

''Electric Miles'' celebrates the music of the early electric period of Miles Davis with big band arrangements of classics from Bitches Brew, On the Corner, Jack Johnson and In a Silent Way.

Trumpeters Tim Hagans and Clay Jenkins are featured as the Miles voice with Dave Liebman appearing on Black Satin and Yesternow. Also featuring trombonist Michael Davis, Pillow on alto sax/alto flute; the band is powered by the rhythm section of drummer Jared Schonig and bassist Chuck Bergeron.

The band is full of NYC seasoned pros and peppered with up and coming musicians. conducted and arranged by Charles Pillow.

Charles Pillow comes from Baton Rouge, LA. After college at Loyola University, he pursued his Masters Degree in Jazz Studies at the prestigious Eastman School of Music, in Rochester, NY. Since moving to NYC in 1987, he has appeared on over 100 recordings of jazz, pop luminaries such as Frank Sinatra, Mariah Carey, Jay Z,Luther Vandross, Paul Simon, Michael Brecker, Bruce Springsteen, John Scofield, Tom Harrell, Dave Liebman, David Sanborn, to name a few. In addition to an active performing and recording schedule, he is an Assistant Professor of Jazz Saxophone at the Eastman School of Music.

Over his long and varied career, Miles Davis recorded several seminal jazz orchestra albums in collaboration with the great arranger Gil Evans. Those disciplined affairs (''Sketches of Spain'' and others) were in stark contrast to Miles's wild, improvised, ''electric'' period that produced records like ''Bitches Brew.'' Charles Pillow Large Ensemble's ''Electric Miles'' brilliantly fuses these two aspects of Miles's oeuvre with gorgeous big band arrangements of tunes from ''Bitches Brew,'' ''Jack Johnson,'' and ''In a Silent Way.''

Featured soloists Tim Hagans and Clay Jenkins ably take on Miles's role on trumpet while Pillow takes flight on alto sax and alto flute. Dave Liebman, who participated in the original sessions a half-century ago, contributes soaring soprano sax solos on ''Yesternow'' and ''Black Satin.'' All of the soloists, including Michael Davis (trombone) and Luke Norris (tenor sax), are outstanding, but the stars here are Pillow's arrangements, with beautiful voicings on more subtle tunes like ''Sanctuary'' and a powerful punch on compositions like ''Pharaoh's Dance.''

Ron Netsky -- Rochester City Newspaper

1 Pharaoh's Dance 9:03
2 Bitches Brew 7:59
3 Black Satin 8:02
4 In a Silent Way 6:43
5 Directions 7:35
6 Sanctuary 5:13
7 Yesternow 9:26
8 Spanish Key 7:14

Charles Pillow, arranger, alto sax, soprano sax. flute, alto flute
Colin Gordon, alto sax, soprano sax, flute
Luke Norris, tenor sax, clarinet
CJ Ziarniak, tenor sax
Karl Stabnau, bass clarinet
Michael Davis, trombone
Abe Nouri, trombone
Jack Courtright, trombone
Gabe Ramos, bass trombone
Tony Kadleck lead trumpet
Charlie Carr, trumpet
Clay Jenkins, trumpet
Tim Hagans, trumpet

Julian Garvue, electric piano / Chuck Bergeron, electric bass/ Mike Forfia, acoustic bass on “Sanctuary”, “In a Silent Way”/ Jared Schonig, drums

Special Guest:
David Liebman, soprano sax