Alan Silva

Alan Silva and the Sound Visions Orchestra

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You might call this the reinvention of the big band, except that a few pioneers, including Silva, have been experimenting successfully with this vehicle since the 1960s. Recalling his large orchestral masterpiece, My Country, recorded on the adventurous Leo record label, Silva gathered some of the cream of the East Coast avant-garde for this huge production. Silva is described in the leaflet as performing on synthesizer and "conduction," which suggests that he led the ensemble with hand gestures in the manner popularized by conduction pioneer Butch Morris. The results are loud, brash, brassy, and violent, pulverizing with squalls of power. As with most conductions, the orchestra is a bit ragged, particularly on what are the written or pre-rehearsed parts, but the force and magnitude more than make up for any deficiencies. All three parts of the composition are laced with plenty of solos, which explode with giddiness. Guests Kidd Jordan and poet Steve Dalichinsky add extra verve, with the former the sole soloist on "Part III." There are a few somewhat pastoral moods, particularly on the last section, but these, too, are subsumed by undercurrents of dissonance. This is a majestic and magnificent recording, and if it is difficult to listen to at one setting, it is nonetheless worth the effort.

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