Albums

fsnt284

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The Compass
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Luteous Pangolin
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Lucky’s Number
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Angel’s Landing
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The Razor’s Edge
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North Rampart
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Sundown

Musicians:

Alan Ferber – trombone
David Smith – trumpet
Will Vinson – alto & soprano saxophone
John Ellis – tenor saxophone
Douglas Yates – bass clarinet
Bruce Saunders – guitar
Bryn Roberts – piano
Alexis Cuadrado – bass
Mark Ferber – drums
Pete Rende – keyboard (track 1)

Recorded May 30 & 31, 2006 at Charlestown Road Studio, Hampton, NJ
Mixed & mastered at Skyline Productions, Warren, NJ
Engineer: Paul Wickliffe
Producer: Alan Ferber
Executive Producer: Jordi Pujol
Release date: April 12, 2007
Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Description:

With The Compass, trombonist Alan Ferber cements his reputation as one of the jazz world’s premier composers and arrangers for larger groups. Why Ferber’s work, as well as his band, does not have a higher profile is a mystery. This is music that deserves to reach a much wider audience, period.

Ferber’s vehicle is his nonet, which has remained stable since the release of Scenes From An Exit Row (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2005); a compliment in itself. However, instead of just being a means to support his excellent soloing, the nonet is a giant feedback loop. Ferber not only writes for these specific players, who audibly respond with enthusiasm and vigor, but also encourages them to arrange their own music for the band. Furthermore, when inevitable substitutes sit in, he reaches out to bring their music into the band’s book.

Thus, the nonet is a scene within the scene, with a personality that admittedly is led by Ferber, but with large contributions from its members. On Exit Row, Ferber’s music was compared to a “mellower, less quirky Either/Orchestra,” but now any comparisons need to bring in the grande dame of large group composer/arrangers, Maria Schneider.

While their music differs in their main characteristics, Ferber now exhibits as much control in creating a specific sound as does Schneider, who has almost double the forces at her command. This comparison is most apt during the numerous choir sections, with part writing that stands out for its overt beauty with a sound that seems much bigger than possible. However, while Schneider’s music is almost pure emotion translated into gorgeous music, Ferber remains firmly rooted within the swinging, cool, belt-it-out, abstract jazz world.