A scaled-down connotation of a more familiar philharmonic setting, bassist/composer and ringleader Jim Connolly steers a well-rounded, divergent and highly-entertaining string of musical events here. Quaint, but vibrant in scope, the artist’s brainchild captures a sense of the visual, especially on pieces that would snugly fit into a silent movie film and passages that might intimate ballroom dancing at the Vanderbilt mansion.
One of the primary and motivating factors pertains to the ensemble’s perpetual motion amid a variety of linearly designed and bustling segments, occasionally topped-off with jazz-based meltdowns. On "Patience Makes The Ocean Blue," Bruce Bigenho’s gentle piano voicings/climactic block chords, nicely counteract Connolly’s fluid bass lines and soft accompaniment from the strings and horns players. To that end, contrasts abound via a multihued listening experience that is firmly rooted within chamber fare, but not solely exclusive to that genre within the composite program.
They delve into the avant-garde scheme during "Time Stops To Visit," where free-jazz and streaming strings offset Bigenho’s witty use of his piano pedals, as an ominous undercurrent peeks its way through. But Connolly isn’t content with rehashing the tried and true as he fuses this composition into a lovely Parisian etude. In a sense, he extends and expands common concepts into his singular musical vernacular as the overall game-plan yields numerous rewards. It’s highly-entertaining and thought-provoking. What more could we ask for?