Feb 3 2015
The Pacific Northwest scene has been incubating music like this lately. Some of this is attributable to the effect of émigrés like Wayne Horvitz, Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu and Eyvind Kang… artists whose creative lives are spent in the fuzzy areas where multiple genres connect. There’s also the effect of a musician’s natural inclination to assimilate the qualities of the music they encounter, and with commercial music being as varied, perhaps, than its ever been, the odds of it being reflected in a disparate range of expressions in a single work increase dramatically.
Sequoia Ensemble‘s debut album Sequoia can trace its routes to both of those causations. They bring together chamber music with indie-rock, jazz improvisation, ambient electronica, pop music succinctness and a number of other ingredients whose effect is heard if not easily ascribed. Thankfully, they don’t fall victim to the risk of muddied influences and neutralize the best characteristics of each school of music. This album has personality.
There’s very little conventional structure to this music. There’s no relying on a return to a previously traveled spot and the shape of a song may not become apparent even after it’s reached its conclusion. The obligation of an ensemble who takes this approach is to make every moment interesting… which Sequoia Ensemble does with a remarkable consistency.
Opening track “Hand of Dog” is the immediate evidence of the Ensemble’s success with this approach, however, the medley “Scandinavian Cannery Rd./Dear Friends, Farewell” and the three-part “Suite for Bosnia & Croatia” is where the music becomes a marvelous coalescence of attributes.
Plenty of intrigue and amazement to be found here… an equation that results in an abundance of fun.
Your album personnel: Levi Gillis (tenor sax), Brennan Carter (trumpet), Nick Rogstad (trombone), Evan Smith (clarinet), Andrew Olmstead (synthesizer), Carmen Rothwell (bass) and Evan Woodle (drums).
The album is Self-Produced.
Music from the Seattle scene.
Available at: Bandcamp