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Maria Schneider - The Thompson Fields / Los Angeles Times review

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Maria Schneider Orchestra, "The Thompson Fields" (ArtistShare)Similarly colored by nature, the latest album from New York-based bandleader Schneider looks toward her home state of Minnesota for inspiration. Part album and part illustrated hardcover book in a luxuriously assembled package from the crowd-funding label ArtistShare, Schneider's latest rests beautifully along whatever imaginary line that separates jazz from classical music, rising out of evocative big band swells one moment, take-your-breath-away individual turns in the next.

Trombonist Marshall Gilkes offers a standout turn in the slow-burning "The Monarch and the Milkweed," and saxophonists Donny McCaslin and Scott Robinson gleefully twist around Schneider's image of birds attempting to court the opposite sex in "Arbiters of Evolution," which churns through a bright, propulsive melody. Frank Kimbrough's piano flickers along the center of the album's title track, and "Nimbus" expands from an ominous, almost gypsy-like melody to a series of stormy, unfettered runs by Steve Wilson. Marked by a zigzagging turn from trombonist Ryan Keberle, "Lembrança" even twists through Brazilian samba in a nod toward her parents' 1950s honeymoon in Rio.

Though dedicated to capturing the beauty of where she grew up, Schneider has also conjured a sort of artistic home here as well, carefully recounting moments, images and individuals that fed her craft. No wonder the album took almost eight years to complete; may her next one not take nearly so long.  SEE THE FULL Los Angeles Times PAGE