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Eliane Elias/Bob Brookmeyer and the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra: Impulsive!

There’s more than a mellow tone to Impulsive (Stunt STUCD-00102; 54:53) by Eliane Elias, Bob Brookmeyer and the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra. There’s a small army proving that studio-sized bands can swing with subtlety, with sublimity-even with symphonic swagger. There are 21 pieces, plus leader Brookmeyer playing valve trombone. All six charts are by Elias, who gets to solo on each, but the real stretching out is by Brookmeyer as arranger for all half dozen. With the forces at his disposal, he “plays” the orchestra in what often sounds like a latter-day Gil Evans session: big broad strokes, minimalist orchestral comping, tight clusters, unlimited colors. The level of swing ranges from intense to highly personal. Elias is the poster girl for jazz globalization. Brazilian-born, now New York-based, Elias reveals her Latin roots, her classical apprenticeship, her harmonically complex composing skills and her refreshingly contemporary keyboard chops in her performance. All this, in collaboration with Brookmeyer, makes for an outstanding session. Too many solo highlights to credit, but it would be criminal to ignore bassist Thomas Ovesen and the flugelhornist Henrik Bolberg Pedersen, and everyone involved in the scorching title tune.

Originally Published