David Sanford Big Band – A Prayer for Lester Bowie (2021) [FLAC 24 bit, 96 kHz]

David Sanford Big Band - A Prayer for Lester Bowie (2021) [FLAC 24 bit, 96 kHz] Download

Artist: David Sanford Big Band
Album: A Prayer for Lester Bowie
Genre: Jazz
Release Date: 2021
Audio Format:: FLAC (tracks) 24 bit, 96 kHz
Duration: 01:09:18
Total Tracks: 8
Total Size: 1,35 GB


01. David Sanford Big Band – Full Immersion (12:47)
02. David Sanford Big Band – Subtraf (09:29)
03. David Sanford Big Band – Woman in Shadows (08:00)
04. David Sanford Big Band – popit (02:49)
05. David Sanford Big Band – A Prayer for Lester Bowie (13:37)
06. David Sanford Big Band – Dizzy Atmosphere (06:28)
07. David Sanford Big Band – Soldier and the CEO (07:19)
08. David Sanford Big Band – V-Reel (08:45)


Composer-arranger and bandleader David Sanford has a capacious musical mind, one attuned to multiple genres and the joy of their aural collision. Keenly attuned not only to his rich African-American inheritance but also to the widest range of culture, he has been influenced by big-band classics and avant-jazz innovators as well as the sweep of the cinema, the harmonic explorations of classical modernists, the artful aggression of rock and the irresistible rhythms of funk. Recognized for his accomplishments in concert halls, on jazz stages and as an educator, Sanford was recently honored by the American Academy of Arts & Letters for “outstanding artistic achievement.”

Sanford convened top jazz and contemporary-music players from across the U.S. in New York City to record his music as the David Sanford Big Band, with soloists that include trumpeter Brad Goode, saxophonist Anna Webber, and trombonist Mike Christianson. A key contributor to the sound and spirit of the group is Hugh Ragin, who is featured on trumpet and as composer and conductor of the album’s centerpiece and title work, “A Prayer For Lester Bowie,” which is an homage to the late, great trumpeter and co-founder of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The rest of the album comprises six characteristically kaleidoscopic Sanford compositions – inspired by everything from rollercoasters to film noir – plus his modern arrangement of “Dizzy Atmosphere,” by one of his earliest jazz influences, Dizzy Gillespie. This is vibrant, exciting large ensemble music that sees no limits.Composer and trombonist David Sanford displays his broad-minded approach to large ensemble jazz with his dynamic big band album, 2021’s A Prayer For Lester Bowie. The album finds him joined by a cadre of boundary-pushing performers including trumpeter Hugh Ragin, whose title-track composition works as the album’s central thematic piece. There are also equally engaging improvisational contributions by players like trombonist Mike Christianson, trumpeter Brad Goode, tenor saxophonist Anna Webber, alto saxophonist Ted Levine, and guitarist Dave Fabris, among others. Primarily, A Prayer For Lester Bowie is a showcase for Sanford’s boldly textural and harmonically daring composition and arranging skills, talents he first honed at the University of Colorado, then at New England Conservatory, and finally at Princeton where he earned his doctorate on a Guggenheim Fellowship. Here, he displays his exuberant style, drawing upon such wide-ranging influences as Charles Mingus, Arnold Sch”oenberg, Parliament-Funkadelic, and more. Its an approach that allows for both straight-ahead moments like his thrilling reworking of Dizzy Gillespie’s bop work-out “Dizzy Atmosphere,” as well as more outre pieces, including the Ragin-penned title track and the dissonant and bluesy “Substraf,” both of which conjure the sprawling cacophony of the late-trumpeter Lester Bowie’s work with the Art Ensemble of Chicago. He also contrasts brassy teutonic harmonies with funk bass grooves and distorted guitar riffs on “Popit” and “The Soldier and the CEO,” a sound that evokes both Miles Davis’ fusion-era Agharta album and the Afro-centric punk of band’s like Bad Brains and Living Colour. Elsewhere, he plays with dusky film noir tropes on “Woman in the Shadows” and even draws inspiration from his love of rollercoasters, crafting a funky, contrapuntal fun ride on “V-Reel.” Listening to A Prayer for Lester Bowie, it’s hard not to reflect on the trumpeter himself. A sonic innovator and avant-garde trickster, Bowie (who died from liver cancer in 1999) emerged in the ’60s and helped to expand not just the idiom of jazz, but also what sounds a trumpet can acceptably make. He always took the music, but never himself too seriously, even as he fused together free jazz with gospel, African traditions, funk, and pop music. For Sanford and Ragin, he is a creative paradigm and A Prayer for Lester Bowie isn’t just a celebration of that legacy, but a wildy charismatic expression of it. – Matt Collar

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