Mike Holober & The Gotham Jazz Orchestra – Hiding Out – Zoho Music 2 CD Set ZM201906****
(Mike Holober – conductor, leader, piano/Fender Rhodes; The Gotham Jazz Orchestra)
The Gotham Jazz Orchestra like many other large organizations is a complex entity. Its common goal is to play as an ensemble, interpret imaginative charts with precision, in the belief that they tell a story that will be accepted by the listeners. Mike Holober, as conductor of this aggregation and composer/arranger of the score, has created a narrative that summons up a vision that is expressed in Hiding Out a two disc CD set from Zoho Music.
The structure of this release set is based primarily on three long form compositions, two of which are Suites with multiple movements. The opening track of CD1 is “Jumble”. According to Kabir Sehgal who wrote the very extensive and descriptive liner notes, the name refers to an isolated lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Through measured clever rhythm, Holober sets up a juxtaposition between 70s fusion and Brazilian maracatu, providing openings for soloing by Jon Gordon on alto sax, Jesse Lewis on guitar along with his own stylings on Fender Rhodes.
The first Suite is entitled “Flow” and is composed of four movements: Tears Of The Clouds, Opalescence, Interlude, Harlem. Given Holober’s interest in exploring the great outdoors, he used the Hudson River of New York State as the inspiration of this musical journey. While each movement ( apart from the Interlude) tells its own story, they are nevertheless threaded together with musical elements that have similar stylistic underpinnings. They capture Holober’s considerable agility and harmonic intelligence.
Disc 2 features the title Suite “Hiding Out” with five movements: Prelude, Compelled, Four Haiku, Interlude, It Was Just The Wind. In writing about the piece, Holober explains that it has a double meaning. One relates to his lack of visibility as a composer/arranger, and secondly it refers to the places where he wrote or was inspired to write these pieces. This Suite is an extensive, big canvas endeavour with considerable range of tone and feeling. Mike Holober’s piano is in articulate command throughout several of the movements along with the guitar of Steve Cardenas in Compelled. The alto sax of Jon Gordon and the tenor sax of Adam Kolker show versatility and assuredness in their solo efforts on It Was Just The Wind.
The final track is an Antonio Carlos Jobim composition “Caminhos Cruzados” and was arranged by Holober as a showpiece for trumpeter Marvin Stamm. This is not one of Jobim’s better known numbers, but it does have a construct with a quiet energy and Stamm’s lyrical trumpet sails over the Holober’s arrangement.
Mike Holober has a daring compositional voice which is on full display in this release
Flow – Tears Of The Clouds
Hiding Out- Prelude
It Was Just The Wind
Caminhos Cruzados (radio edit)