Album Review: The Brite Side from Horizons Jazz Orchestra

Album:  The Brite Side
Artist:  Horizons Jazz Orchestra
Label:  Pineapple Arts Management

Merriment galore, Horizons Jazz Orchestra's latest release The Brite Side is a celebration of the works of Lee Harris,  a revered baritone saxophonist, composer, arranger, and bandleader.  The orchestra's re-imagination of five originals by Harris and his arrangements of five jazz standards give audiences insight into the magnificence Harris brought out in musicians using the big band format.   Brimming with bright, flashy horns, the recording embraces swing and ballroom jazz in a way that is both nostalgic and contemporary.

From the first track, the recording puts listeners in an upbeat mood with the flashing horns blazing through 'Red Apple Sweet" to the shuffling drumbeats coruscating "After You've Gone, Finally."  The musicians show a love of life that is palpable.  The creamy texture of the horns splayed across "The Runner" is dotted in electrifying squiggles, weaving extemporaneous flickers that emit thrilling sensations.  The music is a genuine crowd pleaser.  Moving on, the sensual patterns of the horns slinking along "The Sound" emit magnetic pulses that simmer down further to the smooth jazz smoulder of "Summertime," trimmed in sprigs of swaying Latin accents.

The rapping drum strokes lining "Fourth Dimension" are punctuated by plumes of horns that glisten and soar.  The big band flare may seem like retro ballroom jazz  but sparked with a modern glint in their bursts.  The lush quills of the horns embroider crests and valleys along the title track as keyboardist George Mazzeo fill in the space across the recesses with glittering flakes. The adventurous surges and wanes along the track give the composition dynamic shifts that make it substantive, organic and sophisticated.  

Horizons Jazz Orchestra's brand of big band music can be enjoyed by listeners outside of the jazz spectrum and by big band audiences alike.  Embracing both adventurous excursions and traditional motifs, HJO's recording updates the big band style to modern listener's liking with ardent and sophisticated performances by the musicians.

Executive Producer: Jeannette C. Piña,
Musical Director and Producer: Michael Balogh
Reeds:  Scott Klarman, Mike Brignola, Billy Ross, Joe Mileti, and Randy Emerick
Trombones:  Michael Balogh, Jason Pyle, Tom Lacy, Steven Mayer
Trumpets:  Dennis Noday, Ryan Chapman, Jack Wengrosky, Fernando Ferrarone, Chaim Rubinov, Carl Saunders
Drums:  Gary Mayone
Bass:  Ranses Colon
Guitar:  Luke Williams
Keyboards:  George Mazzeo


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