NewYorkestra Big Band paints Urban Soundscapes by gathering some of the finest jazz musicians available in the Big Apple into one recording session. Led by Pete McGuinness (Trombone) and Rob Middleton (Tenor sax, clarinet, flute), this is one of the largest brass units I have heard in some time. This is modern progressive big band music in every sense of the word.
The music serves as a soundtrack to the great city and the pulse of life within it seems to flow from inside every note. The ebb and tide of emotions from the people that make the city what it is provide the heartbeat and inspiration for these great musicians to record all of this beautiful music. Every time I listen to an outstanding album of jazz music, even if it is the same album time after time, I always here something different or some subtle nuance that I did not notice before. This album offered me a different jazz style in every track. I heard contemporary, big band, Latin, rhythm & blues, blues, funk and hints of swing.
One of the more emotive offerings is the contemplative "Digital Life," which is an ode to our modern times. It sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a film, as does a lot of this music. The key to the success of each song is its length and multiplicity. There is not a song under five minutes and the longest is over nine minutes. There is no sparing on content and each individual artist finds a place to shine within the structure of each composition. Special guest Bobby Sanabria gives their sound a shot of cultural diversity and colorful Latino percussion. Never is that more evident on "Sink or Swim." The theme of each piece of music falls right in line to mirror the melting pot that is NYC.
The musical glove fits just perfect and they wear it well no matter what shade or texture it is. This band defines the word big, literally. I could not have asked for more entertainment on one album.
by Keith Hannaleck of JazzReview.com