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Orange Then Blue: Orange Then Blue

The orchestra Orange Then Blue (the name is derived from a Mingus title) recorded these nine tracks between May 1985 and March 1986 for its first LP release. Four recordings later its growing stature encouraged issuing it in CD format. You’ll find spirited performances where principal arrangers Matt Darriau and Bruce Barth shift between the expressionistic and the subtle, achieving balance with contours and ensemble depth, blending sections and deploying their performers’ multi-instrumental talents to create textural elasticity for those small unselfconscious moments. Both Schullers are associated with the band, son George as drummer-percussionist, Gunther as producer. And John LaPorta, an icon in jazz workshop endeavors, plays clarinet on his fifties’ associate Mingus’s “Nostalgia in Times Square.” The readings of Gil Evans’s 3/4 arrangement of Monk’s “Friday the Thirteenth” and the elder Schuller’s original, “Attila the Hun,” should attract new followers. Saxes predominate, with Dave Finucane, Adam Kolker, and Dave Mann delivering some tough statements; but affecting passages for flutes also characterize their sound. “End of A Love Affair” is perhaps the least tantalizing, a song better suited for swing than literally hanging in midair.

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