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Ed Neumeister & NeuHatEnsemble | Wake up Call

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Wake up Call

by Ed Neumeister & NeuHatEnsemble

"Wake Up Call" original music for Jazz Orchestra. "Wake Up Call" is a delight from start to finish with melodies that linger long after the final fade. The NeuHat Ensemble is comprised of some of the best musicians anywhere.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Big Band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Birds of Prey
Ed Neumeister & NeuHatEnsemble
7:58 $0.99
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2. Dog Play
Ed Neumeister & NeuHatEnsemble
7:55 $0.99
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3. New Groove
Ed Neumeister & NeuHatEnsemble
8:39 $0.99
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4. Reflection
Ed Neumeister & NeuHatEnsemble
9:21 $0.99
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5. Deliberation
Ed Neumeister & NeuHatEnsemble
7:42 $0.99
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6. Locomotion
Ed Neumeister & NeuHatEnsemble
11:22 $0.99
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7. Processize
Ed Neumeister & NeuHatEnsemble
8:47 $0.99
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8. Wake up Call
Ed Neumeister & NeuHatEnsemble
5:29 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Trombonist, composer, and arranger Ed Neumeister (born in Topeka, Kansas, and raised in the San Fransisco Bay area) moved to New York City in 1980 and was soon a member of the Duke Ellington and the Mel Lewis Band (which became the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra after Lewis passed).  He, also, performed and recorded with the likes of Jerry Garcia, Gerry Mulligan, Aretha Franklin, and the New York Philharmonic.  After nearly two decades in Europe where he taught and worked with the Metropol Jazz Orchestra, Budapest Jazz Orchestra, and Jazz Big Band Graz, Neumeister is returning home to the United States, New York City, to be precise.

Like many modern composers-arrangers-educators (Jim McNeely Bill Kirchner, Maria Schneider), Neumeister displays the influences of Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, and Bob Brookmeyer, doing so without imitating any of them.  His new self-released and fan-funded album, "Wake Up Call" (MeisteroMusic), is his first with the NeuHat Ensemble, a group he has written for over a decade. The musicians, listed below, should be familiar to most readers as many of them work and record with the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, with Ms. Schneider, and with Ryan Truesdell's Gil Evans Project.  And, like much of the material those groups play, the songs are more about melodic and harmonic development, a narrative, rather than an vehicle for multiple solos.  Yes, it could be called "concert music" and that's fine. While there is plenty of rhythmic action, the leader wants you to listen and have emotional reactions.

Listen to the glorious tone-poem "Reflection" to hear how each member of the Ensemble contributes to the piece, how the tension is heightened by the repetitive lines in various sections while drummer John Riley colors the piece with his fine cymbal work.  After the long introduction, the melody is moved forward by the brass until Dick Oatts (on tenor) and trombonist Larry Farrell begin a solo section (aided by the atmospheric guitar work of Steve Cardenas and David Berkman's impressionistic piano).  There's more than a hint of Burt Bacharach in the arrangement and melody line of "Dog Play", enlivened by the sweet clarinet work of Billy Drewes. The focus is on the tenor sax of Rich Perry on "New Groove" but not until the melody is laid out by the reeds and brass.

There are impressive examples of ensemble writing throughout the album, especially on the opening and closing tracks. "Birds of Prey" moves in quietly on percussion before the main melody is introduced shared by the sections. There are no solos, just different voices moving in and out of the melody as well as the background.  No solos either on the title track that closes the album.  Yet, listen how the reeds and brass share melody and harmonies while the rhythm section creates a light samba feel.  There's a playful nature to the interactions, the piece moves insistently forward and, again, listen to how all the pieces fit so well.

"Wake Up Call" is a delight from start to finish with melodies that linger long after the final fade. Though it's taken nearly three years from the recording dates to the release date, the music is timely and timeless.  With Ed Neumeister moving back to the US, maybe the NeuHat Ensemble will bring this music to concert halls. That's so nice to contemplate! RICHARD B. KAMINS, Step Tempest

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If you are one of those restless wanderers who is searching high and low for easy listening, look elsewhere. If, on the other hand, you are drawn to music that is more or less off the beaten path and challenges your mind and spirit, composer / arranger / trombonist Ed Neumeister's new album may well serve as the anomalous Wake Up Call you've been waiting for. It takes no more than a few moments of listening to the labyrinthine, through-composed opener, "Birds of Prey," to ascertain that this is not your parents' big-band jazz. There's nary a taste of Basie, Herman, Kenton or Rich on this bill of fare.

Instead, Neumeister takes his cue from such cutting-edge draftsmen as Bob Brookmeyer, Gary McFarland, Thad Jones, Gil Evans and Manny Albam, among others, alongside more established trail-blazers as Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. While Neumeister's wealth of experience includes time spent in big bands led by Mel Lewis, Buddy Rich, Lionel Hampton and Mercer Ellington, he has chosen his own path to fulfillment, living and working mostly in Europe for almost two decades. He returned to New York to record Wake Up Call, presiding over a NeuHat Ensemble whose members are among the finest jazz musicians the city has to offer. That's essential, as nothing that Neumeister places on a music stand is less than precise and demanding.

That includes the fugue-like "Birds of Prey" and everything that follows, from the light-hearted "Dog Play" to the animated "Wake Up Call," which Neumeister says reflects his hope that someday humankind "will be living in peace and prosperity without violent conflict against our fellow citizens or Mother Nature" (good luck with that). Clarinetist Billy Drewes is showcased on "Dog Play," tenor Rich Perry on the dancing "New Groove," which follows, trombonist Larry Farrell and tenor Dick Oatts on the pensive "Reflection." Neumeister solos twice, with alto Mark Gross on "Deliberation" (on which his evocative trombone virtually "talks") and Oatts on "Locomotion," while pianist David Berkman has center stage to himself on another fugue-based theme, "Processize."

As noted, Neumeister's music isn't easy, for performers or listeners, but in either case it rewards those who are willing to accept the challenge at hand and embrace it with an open mind and open ears. Jack Bowers-All About Jazz

Personnel:
Reeds:
Mark Gross
Dick Oatts
Billy Drewes
Rich Perry 
Adam Kolker

Trumpets:
Tony Kadleck
Ron Tooley
Jon Owens
Dave Ballou

Trombones:
Keith O’Quinn
Marshall Gilkes
Larry Farrell
David Taylor

David Berkman - Piano
Hans Glawischnig- Contra Bass
Steve Cardenas - Guitar
John Riley - Drums
John Hollenbeck - percussion

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