By all reports from the Danish authorities the concert with Donny McCaslin and the Klüvers Big Band was a success. I was pleased to hear the recording from the concert at the Copenhagen Jazzhouse – which is posted in the MUSIC section of this here website. The Klüvers Big Band and Donny McCaslin played the arrangement beautifully and I couldn’t be more excited about having made some new friends in Denmark!
Translation by my friends Lefteris Kordis and PanaYota Chaloulakou. This appeared in the Greek jazz magazine JAZZ & TZAZ. Download the review in Greek here JAZZ & TZAZ.
In our days, the most hopeful message is to discover powerful surprises coming from the debut of new artists who experiment and dare, forming a modern and personal language. As always, history has been written by the dynamic and enthusiastic start out of musicians. Surely, having an acquaintance with them and their work creates great excitement even more than the greatest work of an already recognized artist may create. The case of composer and orchestra director Nicholas Urie is a strong proof of the above. His exceptional work on the peculiar but captivating “Excerpts From An Online Dating Service” shouldn’t pass without attention.
Nicholas Urie is a man of great breadth of mind and of broad orientations that stimulate his imagination. With a deep sense of potentialities and functioning in a large ensemble, Urie reveals his seminal ideas. between jazz and contemporary music, tonal and atonal forms, in rhythms and melodies, in organized written parts and improvised explosions, he embodies his playful and fresh disposition and his humor, restructuring and refuting the convention. Jazz harmonies and dispersed melodic specks that originate from a diversity of styles, an avant-garde-ish flavor, a poetic mood, and an inclination for refutation and undermining, they all creatively entangle in his nine exquisite compositions of the album.
I found myself in a tussle over a review in Cadence Magazine by Alan Bargebuhr that got to be rather heated by the end. I find the lack of journalist standards in ‘review’ press to be appalling sometimes. I have found that writers generally (99% of the time) take themselves and their role in the discussion of art seriously and treat the process of vetting out new work with well thought out arguments for and against any given piece. Sometimes journalists (and I use the term loosely) use people’s work to inflate the worth of their own pseudo-intellectual writings. This is one such case. I usually don’t write to the press when I get a bad review but in this case I felt as though Mr. Bargebuhr should be taken to task for his astounding indifference to an accurate and objective portrayal of what is actually going on in the music outside of his esthetic preferences.
2009 was an exciting year for the Large Ensemble. We released our debut record, Excerpts From an Online Dating Service and the response from both the fans and critics has been overwhelming. You can read reviews and listen to interviews with me throughout the NEWS section of nicholasurie.com and I thought I would add these few mentions that call out the LE’s recording effort as one of the best of 2009.
I was just made aware that I was included in the El Intruso “Best of 2009″ list in the Músico Revelación category (new artist). The list is made up of international independent writer’s submissions. Darius Jones, Darcy James Argue, Peter Evans and Samuel Blaser were also included in the Músico Revelación category and I am honored to be in such good company.
Excerpts From an Online Dating Service was also in the list of Favorite Jazz & Blues Releases of 2009 from blogcritics.org’s Mark Saleski.
Excerpts’ Bad Girl was described as “highly recommended Felinni-esque jazz” in a list of best tracks from the year on jazz.com. Bad Girl received a 92/100, not a bad mark at all.
Some other ridiculous quotes from the past year:
“The broad yet nuanced musical language of Urie clearly references the journalistic musicals of Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht or the modern opera of John Adams, and has a sophisticated elegance similar to Duke Ellington’s great opuses. All of the pieces sound immediately accessible and entertaining, while still evocative and beautifully executed”. Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz
“The bluntness is cold and unerotic, making for a portrait of detached, modern life. In this sense, Dating Serviceis reminiscent of the journalistic operas of John Adams, Virgil Thomson or even Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill… Urie’s music, too, is clear and straightforward. Excerpts From An Online Dating Service is not just a remarkable first effort, it is a strong and imaginative depiction of a very real aspect of contemporary culture”. Kurt Gottschalk, All About Jazz
“[Urie's] résumé establishes him as a wunderkind and this designation manifests on his big band event Excerpts From an Online Dating Service… Excerpts From an Online Dating Service is very well conceived. Jazz (or any genre, for that matter) has never seen such adaptation. Writing music to surround such difficult text is a feather in Urie’s cap. Making it so immediately accessible and entertaining is a mark of the young composer’s genius. Big band music has never veered so far from its swing roots as it does on this recording. Urie does not simply blow off the dust of the large jazz ensemble, he sandblasts it off with Uranium.” C. Michael Bailey, All About Jazz
“Excerpts from an Online Dating Service is a compelling work of art. It deepens the dialogue of humanity as it shifts into the technological age, examining the transfer of our base instincts to small blurbs of intent on a website. There is nothing cheap, tawdry, or condescending in Urie’s interpretations and his honest approach is well worth a listen. Jordan Richardson, blogcritics.org
“more fun than a new iPhone.” Stuart Derdeyn, The Provence
“This is a stunning debut disk and not just one might be taken aback by the subject matter. The arrangements are quite impressive, the playing sparkling, and the compositions melodically strong”. Richard Kamins, Hartford Courant
3.5 out of 4 stars in All About Jazz Italia
I have no idea what this article says because well, it is in Italian. Anyone speak Italian?
If you would like to read more of the reviews and listen to the interviews please help yourself. There are some good bad and ugly reviews here on ncholasurie.com so you have all your perspectives covered. Enjoy!