From The Mile High City and within it is Ninth + Lincoln, both a progressive jazz orchestra and a street intersection, both bustling with energy from the city’s street life and both associated with the Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge. That’s where Ninth + Lincoln regularly performs; Ninth and Lincoln is Dazzle’s address. Ninth + Lincoln the band, not the streets is directed by trumpeter Tyler Gilmore, who arose from the plains of Wyoming to become a force in Denver’s jazz scene. He wrote and arranged all of the music for Ninth + Lincoln, the orchestra, and many of the city’s most accomplished musicians gravitated to it. And such a diverse group of musicians they are, some schooled in traditional big band charts and some investigating progressive jazz directions. However, Gilmore, entranced by the complex evocative textures of Chong Vu’s explorations, not to mention the arrangements of Maria Schneider and Mike Holober, has developed his own synthesis of styles. Those styles consist of elements of Gil Evans-like colorations (the slowly unfolding beginning of "Giving Full Account",) big band propulsion, if not swing ("Your Cent"), metrical surprises ("Music for Prose"), impressionism in long written form ("The Wasp," which does indeed imitate waspish movements), the excitement of the back beat ("And You’ll.... "), Latin allusions ("Your Cent"), pop music (Björk’s "Aeroplane") countrapuntal intertwining lines ("Sketching Restraint"), and trance ("Giving Full Account") as its extended tones swell and recede before gliding into yet another palette of colors.
Moreover, the instrumentation of Ninth + Lincoln supports Gilmore’s larger musical concepts, as on "The Wasp." Wil Swindler’s dizzying alto sax flight falls into broad descending chords supported by Gary Mayne’s tuba and Mark Harris’ bass clarinet. After a "Flight of the Bumble Bee"-like swirling, the band settles into a quiet, meditative section that builds slowly and assuredly into yet another buzzing by Swindler, its climax attained after some overtones and reverb effect develop into frenzied improvisation. Interestingly, Gilmore relies on guitar and vibraphone to provide the chorded harmonies, rather than piano, no doubt due to the effects that they can provide and the atmospheres that guitar and/or vibes can create. And the soloists! "Sketching Restraint" retains listener interest on its own, with its horn-led motive that evolves quickly into a comforting theme that trumpeter Brad Goode develops, complete with subdued melody and growing volume and excitement. On "Giving Full Account," vibraphonist Greg Harris sets up the mysterious tone, fulfilled then by Dave Devine’s guitar work, that suggests a small group seting. Instead, the minimalistic, folk-like theme, reminiscent of "Fool on the Hill," blossoms after a minute and a half through the soft, gorgeous, widely written brass chords. The listener expects a long composition arising from an introduction extended at leisure, but instead the theme thought to introduce the piece is
the composition itself, cinematic and beautiful. Ninth + Lincoln,
the CD, presents compositions of its resident composers, Gilmore, Swindler and Devine, and encompasses a wide expression of moods and visual inspirations, as well as merging a variety of styles that become characteristic of the band.