With his fourth release as a leader, composer/pianist Mike Holober reaffirms his spiraling presence within modern jazz circles, to augment his role as a first-call session instrumentalist. Other than two prestigious MacDowell Fellowships, the artist has been in the thick of jazz matters here and abroad. This album features Holober at the helm of a seventeen-piece ensemble that highlights his leadership expertise and vision.
Holober's arrangements signify a comprehensive study in contrasts and sound-sculpting. He employs layered horns charts while keenly using depth and space as additional instruments. Many of these works transmit asymmetrical doses of power and warmth amid budding story-lines and the soloists vibrant breakouts. On "Twist & Turn, Holober generates a crawling motif, segueing into a gradual buildup of odd-metered metrics and descending horns. He effectively ensnares your attention via rolling themes and dynamic opuses.
The band sports a big sound, intermixed with its fluid textural shading, evidenced on its intricately engineered and buoyantly swinging rendition of George Harrison's "Here Comes The Sun." But Holober works the Rolling Stones classic pop ballad "Ruby Tuesday," into multilayered forum, teeming with oscillating flows and numerous variations of the familiar theme. Moreover, the artists fuse classical-jazz stylizations while the pianist assists with several reinventions of the tune's core structural components.
Holober casts a prismatic aura throughout these complex works that spawn a fruitful balance consisting of heady compositional attributes, and a highly entertaining string of movements that beckons repeated listens. From a big-band standpoint he injects the best of many musical worlds into a stylish presentation that sports a thoroughly modern stance and is firmed up by traditional jazz-centric foundations. An excellent outing, it is.