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Maria Schneider Orchestra - The Thompson Fields / The Spokesman Review

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Maria Schneider's big band has remained together nearly 25 years, extending into the 21st century the orchestral jazz tradition exemplified by Duke Ellington and by Schneider's mentor Gil Evans. "The Thompson Fields" is her first new jazz orchestra recording in eight years, and the result is a masterpiece likely to garner multiple Grammy nominations.

The CD opens with "Walking by Flashlight," an instrumental adaptation of a theme from her 2013 album, "Winter Morning Walks," with soprano Dawn Upshaw and a chamber orchestra that won three Grammys in classical categories. Scott Robinson's poignant alto clarinet evokes images of an early morning walk through a gently windswept prairie field inspired by a poem by Nebraskan Ted Kooser.

The title track, inspired by the view of swaying bean fields from the silo of a neighbor's farm, opens with a soothing, restrained, Americana-style lullaby played by guitarist Lage Lund and pianist Frank Kimbrough, with the woodwinds and brass gradually blending in to provide a lush texture.  READ THE FULL Spokesman Review ARTICLE