UAJO Plays Ed Puddick’s Music ‘- News, Reviews, Articles & Commentary From The London Jazz Scene And Beyond
Upper Austria Jazz Orchestra – Crazy days: UAJO Play Ed Puddick’s Music
(ATS Records CD-0972. Album review by Tony Dudley-Evans)
This album is the result of a visit to Austria by the composer / arranger Ed puddick just before confinement in early January 2020 to register with the Upper Austria Jazz Orchestra (UAJO). UAJO is in its 28th year and is known for its flexibility and openness to different styles of big band music. They have worked with many composers from the United States and Europe, including Kenny Wheeler, Johnny Griffin, Mike Gibbs, Maria Joao, and Slide Hampton.
Puddick has an equally open and flexible approach to composition. His style on this recording varies from traditional writing well crafted for a large group with other tracks that show a strong influence of Mike Gibbs’ composing style. The first three pieces, Crazy Days, an ocean of air and Forum boarding school, fall into the first category with strong writing for the brass and saxophone sections; textures on An ocean of air are particularly attractive. Mike Gibbs’ influence is most evident on Nits News Day and New Familiar with an emphasis on a powerful brass sound and guitar solos from Primus childcare which reminded me of Chris Spedding’s solos on Gibbs’ Tanglewood 69 album.
The last five pieces are devoted to The Brexit Suite in which Puddick’s compositions are built around the various stages of the never-ending Brexit saga and capture the national vibe as it has changed over the two years. The mood changes from optimism to June 23, 2016 (referendum day) to a mixture of sadness and anger 52% major 48% minor in the sense of the absurdity resulting from the contrast between the promised simplicity of the negotiations and the complex reality on 50, a kind of acceptance on Withdrawal agreement and surprise and disbelief on Extension.I find this short sequel to be a good example of how a jazz composition can draw inspiration from and relate to an important political event such as Brexit. He doesn’t make a political statement – although it’s clear where Puddick’s sympathies lie – but instead tries to capture the atmosphere of the era in music.
The 17-piece orchestra interprets Puddick’s compositions with great sensitivity, and brings out the very attractive textures of his writing. There are also a number of good soloists, the guitarist Primus Sitter, mentioned above, the pianist Herman Hill, saxophonists Andreas View and Christian Maurer and trumpeter Manfred Weinberger.
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