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Maria Schneider Orchestra plays London Jazz Festival / theguardian review

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The sound of jazz is often brittle, urgent and urban, but the music of the great US jazz composer and bandleader Maria Schneider evokes the glide of birds and the vistas of prairies more than it does the edgy clamour of the streets. As with Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell, and not infrequently Aaron Copland, too, Schneider's music is about a more innocent and unconflicted America, still hoping that humanity might one day get into the kind of harmony with itself and its environment that she hears in her head.

Following a short, sharp and pithily deconstructivist approach to familiar songs by the inventive London pianist Liam Noble, Schneider's orchestra opened their London jazz festival gig with the rich themes from her new album, The Thompson Fields – inspired by the composer's returns to old Minnesota haunts. The softly squeezed accordion intro and swelling brass and flute lines of A Potter's Song suggested, as Schneider's compositions often do, a music involuntarily borne on air currents rather than propelled.   READ theguardian REVIEW