The Jazz Police are made up of musicians who see their task as creating and promoting modern big band music. For their second album for Origin, leader James Rasmussen has selected the music of one of the band's trumpet and flugelhorn players, jazz educator Daniel Barry. Drawing upon musicians from the fertile and active Northwest U.S. jazz scene, the group has 18 members plus four players added for certain tracks. Barry made a trip to Brazil before recording this album, where he was a composer in residence. Judging from such tracks as "To & Fro" and "Two to Tango," he was influenced by those enticing Brazilian cadences. But these works are not mere repackaging of those tempi favored by so many jazz musicians. Rather they are recast within a foundation of progressive jazz, and in doing so, Barry adds a whole new set of musical flavors to the genre. The composer is featured on trumpet on both cuts along with the tenor sax of Andrew Ferren, Chris Monroe on drums, and Greg Fulton on guitar. But there's much more than South American music on this set. "Miss. Leisure" could be the theme for a film noir, while the opening of "In the Beginning" brings to mind passages from Aaron Copland's "Appalachian Spring" before taking off into a whirling dervish of fast-paced, jagged rhythms moved along vigorously by Monroe's drums. This track also spotlights the bass clarinet of Jim DeJoie. Barry's intelligent arrangements provide the freedom for soloists to exercise their improvisational wants as well as strong ensemble playing. This release could turn out to be one of the top modern big band CDs of 2002 and is recommended.
The Music of Daniel Barry Review
by Dave Nathan