Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wave Mechanics Union "Second Season"

Oh my.  You should all buy this disc (hyperlinked to make it easier for you).  It is really wonderful: (really) large ensemble arrangements of progressive and classic rock tunes headed up by a trio of folks that include Lyman's bud, Ryan Fraley.  As the name of the ensemble suggests, the artistry here is allllllll about the arrangements.  The musicians are, of course, quite talented but there's no way to hear these songs without being very impressed at how they are so changed yet remain the same (as it were).

You can't miss Lydia McAdams' knock-out vocals but I'm especially taken by the mid-range horns: Fraley on trombone has really beautiful tone and phrasing. I keep thinking I hear a baritone horn but I see no credit for one....?  Love the vibes, the flute, the bass clarinet and oboe and voila!  There you have it: how lovely it is to hear those voices that rarely make it into today's jazz recordings.  What I really love after the arrangements themselves is the range of instrumentation.  I'm sure I don't have to say that Lym on bass and Ralph Johnson on drums keep the grooves right where they need to be and a fine job of it at that.  In particular, I love Lym's beats on "Killer Queen".  I can't settle on a favorite track but at the moment I'm really into "Heart of the Sunrise" and "The Rain Song".  

Its a really lovely, beautiful recording.  I'm so intrigued at how it points up elements of these rock songs that I'd never really noticed so much...kinda like a two'fer: you get the new arrangements and a new appreciation for the originals.  Score.  Buy it.  Listen.  Enjoy.

No comments: