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Published on Dec 15, 2015
Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra and arranged by Henry Wolking
In Sea | Henry Wolking Kris Johnson, trumpet; Greg Floor, alto sax; Jay Lawrence, drums
It’s evident from hearing the jazz big band works of composer, arranger, conductor and trombonist Henry Wolking’s debut album on Big Round Records, IN SEA, that he effectively mixes complexity with simplicity in his jazz harmonies and colorful orchestrations that make for an exciting and memorable listening experience. The inspired solo work of band members and guest artists add to the sincere and fresh cosmopolitan character of the recording.
Performed by the Salt Lake City Jazz Orchestra (SLCJO) and conducted by Wolking, the works on this album represent Wolking’s clear direction of fusing together a number of different styles, from classical and rock to Latin and swing. Pieces such as the title track In Sea, and Sumo Mix, honor and pay tribute to iconic jazz composers and musicians of the past, including Bob Brookmeyer and Thad Jones, influential to Wolking’s compositional style. Claude Debussy’s impressionistic approach becomes a foundational element in some of these works, which Wolking interprets deftly with jazz harmonies and syncopated rhythms in pieces such as Jimbo’s Lullaby, A Piece of Cake, and Claire De Lune.
Along with his original compositions, Wolking includes arrangements of works by David Halliday, Lew Pollack, and others, illustrating how he orchestrates with the ensemble in mind, using the textures and variety of voices of the big band to create engaging grooves and captivating sections of improvisation. Many of these works go beyond the straight-ahead jazz form, incorporating shifts in mood and tempo, and introducing new ideas and conversations among the instruments seamlessly.