Nicholas Urie My Garden (with poems by Charles Bukowski)

Nicholas Urie My Garden (with poems by Charles Bukowski)
Composer Nicholas Urie blows the dust and cobwebs off the jazz big band. He re-envisions its sonorities and gestures, avoids clichés and breathes new life into a vital resource that was in danger of becoming a museum artefact. Urie's choice of Charles Bukowski's poetry is apt. Both share an aesthetic of manliness, but they also share a passionate love of beauty and delicacy. Urie's orchestrations are redolent with rich, woody textures and a glandular bass clarinet bottom, resounding with triumphant brass flourishes, as on "For Crying Out Loud." Fitting the noir vibe of Bukowski's Los Angeles-informed vision, soprano saxist Jeremy Udden finds melodic light in dissonant darkness on CD standout "Slaughterhouse." But it's hard to avoid the Steve Lacy paradigm when coupling jazz and poetry, and for vocalist Christine Correa, avoiding Irene Aebi's stern declamatory approach is a challenge. On the two-line "Round and Round," that elocutionary shadow informs Correa's punchy delivery. Yet elsewhere, she evinces an entirely personal way into the words uttered by the barroom bard, like on "Lioness" and "Lean." My Garden has abrasive splendour in abundance. (Red Piano)