CD Blauklang (CD 1331615),
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  • 1. All Blues
    2. Lo Rossinyol
    3. Habanera
    4. Blues For Pablo
    5. Ollie Mention
    6. Bluesounds Movement I
    7. Bluesounds Movement II
    8. Bluesounds Movement III
    9. Bluesounds Movement IV
    10. Bluesounds Movement V
    11. Bluesounds Movement VI
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): ACT 9465-2

  • Credits
    ProducerDr. Bernd Hoffmann

    Personnel: Vince Mendoza; Nguyn L (guitar); Ulla Van Daelen (harp); String Quartet Red Urg 4 (strings); Claudio Puntin, Steffen Schorn (clarinet, saxophone); Frank Sackenheim (saxophone); Markus Stockhausen (trumpet); Arkady Shilkloper (French horn); Jon Sass (tuba); Christopher Dell (vibraphone); Lars Danielsson (bass instrument); Peter Erskine (drums).
    Audio Mixer: Rich Breen .
    Vince Mendoza's transformation from performer to composer, arranger and conductor has fully flowered over the years with pop singers (Bjrk, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello,) but also as a contemporary colorist within a jazz framework. Blauklang (Bluesound) is the third in a trilogy of works for the ACT label that Mendoza has created over a 15 year span, this one live at the Traumzeit Festival. It is his most satisfying of the lot, based on the quality of the players from the vaunted WDR Big Band, the timbres selected between horns and strings, and the profound musical interpretation of those blue hues heard. Inspired by the paintings of Ernst Wilhelm Nay, and to a lesser extent Yves Klein or Pablo Picasso, the deep stylistic shadings of those tonal physical artists are turned admittedly serene, enigmatic, and ambiguous. This breezy tone, sans keyboards and with little percussion, might suggest a California dream, but is much more attuned to a European aesthetic, with a little New York neo-bop thrown in for enhancement. Mendoza has clearly heard his share of latter period Gil Evans as well as Lalo Schifrin, and especially Claus Ogerman. "All Blues" appropriately kicks off the set, but is unlike the original, as an atmospheric horn backdrop, drifting away from the famous melody on the second chorus, inspires the at first restrained, then steely lead guitar lines of the incredible Nguyn L. This is followed by the reverent and hymnal Catalonian traditional folk ballad "Lo Rossinyol," the non-Cuban "Habanera" sounding more like the standards "Body & Soul" or "My Romance," the intricate lattice chart of the sweet Gil Evans penned 6/8 into 4/4 "Blues for Pablo," and the snippets of light and shadow in space during the waltz "Ollie Mention." The six-part "Bluesounds" concerto is an astounding musical achievement no matter what genre you want to place it in. Markus Stockhausen's pensive trumpet leads through the first two segments, the band picks up in flowing liquid to hip and tight neo-bop sway, shimmers with the harp of Ulla Van Daelen and vibist Christopher Dell during the third section, deferring to a shuffling blues beat from drummer Peter Erskine with the strings of Red Urg 4. The woodwind section and bassist Lars Danielsson back a regal French horn line from the brilliant Arkady Shilkloper on the fifth movement. But the finale is the showstopper, a fast, thoroughly modern, slightly funky tune that will move your head, fingers and toes. L's energetic solo and embedded 6/8 accents from the horns buoyed by tuba player Jon Sass will disarm you from the rest of the program. You will be just as pleased to listen as to perhaps make love with a special someone while this shining example of advanced, intelligent, soulfully inspired, utterly beautiful music is playing on your home stereo system. ~ Michael G. Nastos

  • Critic Reviews
    Mojo (Publisher) (p.102) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[I]n guitarist Nguyen Le, Mendoza has found his Miles; sinuous and wiry, Le's fretwork uncurls from the evocative music like an exotic flower."
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