Composer, reed and woodwind instrumentalist Rob Mosher takes awe-inspiring flights with his chamber music group Storytime in his compositions for their debut album The Tortoise released by the Canada Council for the Arts. He explains in a recent press release about his compositions, "I create simple melodies that are a supported by musical structures," and recounts how Storytime became the vehicle for his works, "I was searching for a band name that welcomed people into my music without creating expectations of what they’d hear."
The band name Storytime may spur some listeners to think back of story-time in school when the teacher would have the class sit together on a carpet and read a book to them. The book was always different, but one fact was for certain, the story would open the students minds to new worlds, situations, conflicts, and ways of dealing with life that they never knew before. Similarly, Rob Mosher’s compositions and Storytime’s execution of his musical ideas do the same for the listener.
There are moments when the music feels like they travel across the blue sky with their feathered friends through cirrus clouds and over mountaintops, lush green fields, and ranges of trees like in "Twilight," and then there are other moments when the compositions pervade a murkier ambience like when Mosher’s English horn reams with dramatically toned wails through "Silhouette Of The Man In The Fog" and the sullen ruminations of "Farewell Good-bye." Dark shadows contrast beaming rays of light in "Sleepless Lullaby" creating instrumentation that makes it seem as if angels are watching over those drowning in sorrow lifting their spirits slowly. This track is hands down the most cinematic piece on the album, truly a masterful performance.
The ensemble continues with the classic big band swing décor of "Jupiter" which moves sensually and radiates with pleasing harmonies, but the jangling sleigh bells starting off "What Snowflakes Are Plotting" fills the listener with joy as the springy chimes are delightfully entwined with the vaudeville stylized horns. The clunky horns of "The Tall Tales Of Todd Toven" have a comical gait while belted in tulips of flighty flutes, and the exotically serpentine lines of "March Of The Elephants" allow for trombonist Michael Fahie to burrow a series of heavy-footed stomps in a timely fashion. Mosher’s saxophone peeks through the cloudy shale of "On A Clear Day" and becomes surrounded in merriment with the Latin-flavored wiggles of "The Sands Of Maundune." The operatic peaks and valleys of "The Forgotten" are made with sleek punctuations and diligently seamed transitions, and the agility of the instrumentation for "1920’s Car Chase" moves into some classic jive jaunts.
Rob Mosher’s compositions depict many diverse aspects of classic jazz and chamber music. His group Storytime create pieces that open audiences minds and exposes them to wildernesses and wonderlands in ways that they may have never experienced before. Mosher does for music what Renoir has done for art, and Fellini has done for film, take a blank canvass and put an image on it that evokes an emotion from the person standing outside of it. Mosher makes art that represents life, and if given the chance he could string scenes to make a grand opera.