Rick Wald 16/NYC: Castaneda’s Dreams

Rick Wald’s modern big band gets a workout on Castaneda’s Dreams. Wald’s writing is loaded with tricky twists and turns, carefully skewed harmonies and mood shifts ranging from quiet contemplation to aggressive, bluesy stabs. But the veteran players handle it all with deceptive ease, crafting deliciously rich, vibrant ensemble passages. Solos are spread liberally around the group, with baritone saxophonist Gary Smulyan, trumpeter Valery Ponomarev and winds player Lou Marini furnishing three of the standout voices. Wald’s liner notes mention that the seven tracks were selected from a book of 25 charts. Hopefully that means we’ll hear more from 16/NYC in the near future.