Florian Ross

Suite for Soprano Sax & String Orchestra

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It's not too often that a jazz-oriented composer takes an interest in 20th century English classical music, so this nearly hour-long suite by pianist/composer Florian Ross - ostensibly inspired by the Brits - is going to be of interest to Third Stream buffs. Yet the piece is not that audibly indebted to Ross's designated role models Benjamin Britten, Frederick Delius, Peter Warlock, Frank Bridge, or Edward Elgar. Rather, the primary focus is usually upon the suite's inspired soloist, Dave Liebman, whose soprano sax shines brilliantly throughout the project. Sometimes the music gets just a bit out there, particularly in the mild excursions into the twelve-tone universe of "Part VI" and free-jazz of "Part VII." But it is mostly a very attractive score where the Event String Ensemble under Manfred Knaak is well-integrated with the excellent German rhythm section (Dietmar Fuhr, bass; Jochen Rückert, drums) in this live recording. Although the suite flows in a nearly seamless stream, the sections are presented out of their numerical order (the Roman numerals supposedly reflect only the chronological order of composition). Yet this is the only daffy thing about a lovely addition to the Third Stream repertoire which, at Naxos' super-bargain price, qualifies as a best buy.

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