Exposé Online banner

Brian Landrus Orchestra — Generations
(BlueLand Records, 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2017-10-20

Generations Cover art

In my book, adding orchestral parts to jazz and rock is a risky business. Not only do you have the needs that all genres have of writing interesting music, but the added necessity to make the orchestra parts interesting as well often presents difficulties that many artists are unable to overcome. For every successful attempt, there are dozens of failures. Brian Landrus is a baritone saxophonist, and Generations presents just short of an hour of modern jazz backed by a 25-member ensemble that includes strings, a full complement of woodwinds, brass, harp, vibraphone, and drums. He handles the arrangements admirably, fully utilizing the tones and colors available, and devises parts for the instruments that don’t just fill in backgrounds for his soloing or cover the chording that a pianist would do in a smaller group. At times I’m reminded of the great jazz soundtracks that Quincy Jones has done, which blend 20th Century techniques with inventive jazz playing. The album starts out with the five parts of the “Jeru Concerto” (four movements plus an interlude). This work features Landrus on the bari, but there are plenty of great passages of ensemble work for the others — after all, a concerto is really all about the soloist. Aside from the concerto, there are seven individual pieces. These other pieces are a bit more balanced in that they don’t focus so much on Landrus himself, so you’ll hear the occasional trumpet or bass clarinet solo, though most of the spotlights for flute, vibes, and the others are composed. There’s some pretty dense polyphony at times, where various groups of instruments compete for attention, but it all fits together quite nicely. In all, Generations is a nice piece of work with a distinctive sound and a pleasingly fresh example of large ensemble arrangement. I suppose it wouldn’t be practical for Landrus to maintain a group like this for a tour, but this studio creation is a fine addition to the canon.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Brian Landrus

More info
http://brianlandrus.com/albums/brian-landrus-orchestra-generations

Latest news

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Robin Taylor - Isle of Black – Danish Guitarist Robin Taylor's adventurous endeavors continue forward on his tenth solo album in ten years with a markedly different slant. Opening cut, "Confessions," meshes old-style Frippertronics...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues