Jim Knapp

Secular Breathing

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AllMusic Review by

This is a somewhat grandiose outing of big band jazz from the composing hands of Jim Knapp. A collective of Seattle jazz players -- as well as a couple alums that had wandered to New York -- were called together for the sake of the album. The basic sound that's created here isn't necessarily what one would think of upon hearing the term "big band." It's a basic modern jazz setup for the compositions, with references to classical, world, and folk music here and there. The performers do quite a good job of working together to create a texture of sound fit for any nightclub. The sound hearkens to the big band sound of the '70s from time to time when the horn section is called in, especially on the title track. Phil Sparks' bass provides an outstanding working rhythm for the majority of the album, shining brighter during his solos. Pianist John Hansen also provides a functional rhythmic structure with some late night class. The horn section doesn't provide one shining star, per se, but instead acts as a whole for the better part of the album, creating a texture together that none would be capable of alone. The players all shine well on the record, but it's Knapp's compositional skill that is the highlight. It quietly evokes jazz from a number of periods as the musicians progress through their parts, and never loses the thread. For hearing what's new in the field of big band, this album isn't a bad way to go.

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