MP3 Snowblind - Arctic Fury
Snowblind is a piano-less jazz quintet that explores new approaches to time tested standards while maintaining listener accessibility.
8 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Bebop, JAZZ: Traditional Jazz Combo
Duke Ellington said that musicians would become “conservatory trained, but with an ear to the street.” Mr. Ellington would have dug Snowblind. Each member has been educated in a school of music, all at the University of Minnesota in some way, as well as on stage. They are all accomplished composers and arrangers, in addition to being virtuosic improvisers.
More importantly, Snowblind is a Band. Shilad, Adam, Scott, Mark and Reid have formed a truly democratic, egalitarian ensemble. Their approach and sound is their own, yet firmly rooted in the tradition of Max Roach’s late 50’s/early 60’s groups with Booker Little, Charles Mingus’ various piano-less groups and Dave Holland’s recent quintets.
Snowblind’s repertoire is a balanced mix of forms and styles, covering more than 70 years of American music. They can play “rag-time to no-time” and are well versed in hip-hop, funk and Latin music in addition to swing and bop.
Shilad Sen, a Chicago native and Ph.D. candidate at the U of MN in computer science, studied with world-renowned classical saxophonist Dr. Frederick Hemke at Northwestern University. He contributed Kate’s Groove, written for his wife, and the arrangement of East of the Sun, a pop tune from 1935. Shilad’s fascination with extended form and Afro-Caribbean rhythms and his Sonny Rollins-like approach to thematic development succeed brilliantly here. His horn arrangements on Night and Day, Lola and Da’ Rhythm make the group sound much larger than its five parts.
Adam Rossmiller is from Denver, CO and is a doctoral candidate in trumpet performance at the U of MN. In Denver he studied with Alan Hood, a master of the hard-bop language and an authority on Clifford Brown, as well as with Ron Miles, a forward thinker with a style and sound all his own. Adam’s beautiful melody statement and solo on Night and Day are highlights here, as is his writing on Da’ Rhythm where he updates Gershwin’s immortal chords with a collectively improvised bridge reminiscent of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Adam also contributes the snaky arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie’s classic A Night in Tunisia, employing a 7/8 time signature for the ‘A’ sections.
Scott Agster, a former student of Tony Baker, is also a doctoral candidate in trombone performance at the U of MN. He has played all over the world with the famed University of North Texas One O’Clock Lab Band. Scott has an approach reminiscent of both Jimmy Knepper (hard swing) and Slide Hampton (range and fluidity). He composed Ric-Tick for Snowblind, showing familiarity with older styles that never veers into parody.
Mark Drehmann is typical of 21st century bass players. He can read and play anything from Bach to The Beatles. In a group like this, the bassist has to have a strong groove and impeccable note choice; Mark always puts the right sound in the right place. He came up with the 15/8 ostinato on Night and Day, which involved a slight re-harmonization. As on East of the Sun, Snowblind makes a well known tune their own. Mark also arranged Ron Carter’s blues It’s About Time. Here, the value of big band experience shows. The dynamics and horn backgrounds arose in performance, à la Basie. Mark’s beautiful, hymn-like Lola showcases Snowblind’s remarkable depth of emotion and closes this gorgeous recording.
Although Reid Kennedy’s writing is not represented on this recording, his compositional sense of drumming is omnipresent. He possesses great time and feel. Reid is more concerned with counterpoint than strict accompaniment, and he provides a different attitude for each soloist, exemplified in Kate’s Groove. Reid’s solo on Night and Day is beautifully constructed. Also note the fantastic, musical sound he gets out of his old Gretsch drums throughout. You can see why Joe Lovano and Gunther Schuller, among others, have used Reid in concert.
Shilad Sen, Adam Rossmiller, Scott Agster, Mark Drehmann and Reid Kennedy have put their collective energy into making beautiful music. Miles Davis said that the only question for a musician was, “Do you have ideas, and can you project them?” For Snowblind, the answer is, At All Times. – Phil Hey, jazz drummer and educator based in the Twin Cities, MN. (https://www.tradebit.com)