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Alan Silva and the Sound Visions Orchestra: Alan Silva and the Sound Visions Orchestra

Bassist-turned-keyboardist Alan Silva conducts the Sound Visions Orchestra, which is among the most raucous and chaotic orchestras in avant-garde jazz. The 22-piece band organized for this performance at the 1999 Vision Festival is practically all brass and horns; besides Silva, only drummer Jackson Krall, pianist Mark Hennen and bassist Wilber Morris aren’t blowing into an instrument. Regardless of its windcentric lineup, Silva’s orchestra is still orchestral in its sweeping movements and dynamic changes. But you won’t ever hear a classical-music orchestra this unfettered.

Although most of the musicians play standard jazz instruments-saxophone, trumpet, trombone-the use of flutes, French horn, tubas and bassoon give the band its depth and character. The music is always jarring and tense, and Silva’s creepy synth sounds intensify the mood, though it wears out both its audience and its welcome. The recording quality is not very good, but in some ways the uneven sound adds to the music’s tension (as if that were needed).

Originally Published