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The Vinny Golia Large Ensemble: 20th Anniversary Concert

On March 15, 2002, woodwind expert and composer Vinny Golia celebrated two decades of music with the 36-piece Large Ensemble by premiering six new compositions. The concert began, literally, on a long dissonant note and wound its way through various sonic shapes and some extremely original free improvisation, ending with some humorous spoken passages. 20th Anniversary Concert captures the entire performance, along with footage of rehearsals and illuminating interviews with Golia and numerous Ensemble players.

As a musical document, the disc’s value can’t be understated. Golia’s compositions combine an arresting blend of orchestral sonorities that might not be considered jazz by some, but swing like mad at certain points. Visually, the footage proves frustrating. It relies heavily on a washed-out shot from a distant balcony camera. Closer shots usually come midway through a solo, and several performers are obscured by music stands anyhow. And if Golia’s Tubax bass sax can’t be seen, where’s the fun in that?

Originally Published