Dave Lisik Orchestra: Coming Through Slaughter

Canadian trumpeter and composer Dave Lisik’s latest album, a 10 piece movement, Coming Through the Slaughter was inspired by the novel of the same name by Michael Ondaatje. The novel is a fictitious portrayal of the life of early New Orleans jazz cornet player, Buddy Bolden.

The first minute of the title track sounds like a late-night TV show opening theme. This then gives way for trumpeter Tim Hagans and tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin to take turns soloing. Having percussionist Matt Wilson on drums not only on this track but throughout the entire album was an excellent idea.

Pianist Amy Rempel plays a fine open to “The Drawing of Audobon.” Her intro is followed by great a solo by Hagans again which is backed up by the orchestra underneath.

A lot of jazz/orchestra themed albums tend to drown out the jazz element with too much orchestra, which is not the case here. Arranger Dave Lisik has managed to pull the reigns back and not have an overflow of orchestral with very little jazz.

On “Suicide of the Hands” there is a very dark tone. Bassist Jeremy Allen punches his chords with a darkened theme. Trombonist Luis Bonilla and Donny McCaslin do back and forth throughout.

Having a themed jazz/orchestra album based on a book that the listener might not have read is a risk. But Dave Lisik manages to set the music to the words. All the arrangements are well thought out, constructed and do not overshadow the other jazz instruments. You cannot judge a book by its cover and you cannot judge an album by its book.