Alan Silva

HR57, Vol. 1

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This album and its three companion volumes, HR57, Vol. 2, HR57, Vol. 3, and HR57, Vol. 4, document two complete evenings of music presented by the 23-piece Celestrial Communication Orchestra under the direction of Alan Silva (who also plays synthesizer) on May 24 and 27, 2001, at the Uncool Festival in Poschiavo, Switzerland. The title refers to a resolution passed in the U.S. Congress in 1987 designating jazz as a "rare and valuable national American treasure" (the complete text of which is included in HR57, Vol. 1's accompanying booklet), and all the performers with the exception of trumpeter Oki Itaru and trombonist Johannes Bauer are Americans. Many also appeared on Silva's earlier Eremite release Sound Visions Orchestra in 1999 (the Celestrial Communication Orchestra in all but name). HR57, Vol. 1 consists of four pieces entitled "Amplitude," the first of which is essentially an extended jam accompanying vocalist Ijeoma Thomas as she introduces the band. "Amplitude, Pt. 2" follows without a break, Silva cuing in the monumental block chords that have characterized his work with the CCO since its first album, Luna Surface, back in 1969. These represent the block of granite out of which the soloists sculpt their individual creations. With no fewer than seven saxophonists, three trumpeters, and three trombonists involved, a brief synopsis of who's playing what when would not have gone amiss for listeners unable to tell Sabir Mateen from Kidd Jordan but, since a commitment to ensemble creation is the cornerstone of Silva's aesthetic and has been for over 40 years, it's perhaps less important to single out individual performances, though pianist Bobby Few is outstanding throughout.

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