Adding the voice and words of poet/narrator Margaret Sweatman to the octet mix in "Holding Pattern" was a dramatic and illuminating event. Her urbane and urban words "This is not my stop. I see pavement ..." played beautifully and trippingly with the funky beat and the high cry of McLelland's tenor saxophone. At times, Sweatman's delivery and phrases made me think of Annette Peacock.
It was unfortunate that Sweatman was consistently undermiked. Scott Good's sturdy trombone was an elephant trumpeting. Viswanathan's baritone sax was all squeals and emotionally high pitches. It was amiable in spirit.
In "Adagio" a theme from Mozart that developed into a slow, 4/4, funeral anthem where the trumpets and trombones always seem to play slightly out of tune, where this only adds to the incredible melancholy of a slow funeral march, we find that this piece ends with a slow paced marching to a snare drum.
The compositions of Glenn Buhr took a jazz, big city view of things. They allowed for plenty of improvisation and, like a city, they're made up of internalized, diverse, cross-cultural sounds and rhythms. Buhr's melodies are actually multicultural since they ranged from a syncopated Klezmer style to a sonorous Mozart theme in "Adagio" (with its funky backbeat) to the jabbing r&b horn accents of "Jackhammer".
But finally, Buhr's music has a satisfying whole sound. It's richly compositional in its various sound textures and changing moods; and it's all gathered around a funky heartbeat.
It's all good.