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Phil Dwyer Orchestra: Changing Seasons

Phil Dwyer is a Canadian multi-instrumentalist/composer originally from Canada's west coast. He moved to New York at the age of seventeen. Dwyer's musical pedigree in the world of jazz speaks for itself as he has won numerous awards playing with a variety of jazz bands.

His new album Changing Seasons has his orchestra bridging the gap between classical and jazz in a delightfully tuneful way. Although I am not a musician, combining classical and jazz in such a seamless way cannot be an easy thing to do but Dwyer pulls it off with aplomb. The album features a massive orchestra (conducted by Dwyer) and a string section led by Mark Fewer who also adds some virtuoso violin parts.

Changing Seasons contains four tracks representing the four seasons. Each season is beautifully put to music in an interesting and artful way. The album opening "Spring" starts with a hint of melancholy, somewhat surprising knowing the subject matter. The music builds as instruments are added until a jazz groove settles in along with some top notch solo violin. The orchestra builds culminating in Dwyer's solo piano, a perfect marriage between classical and jazz.

The album's second piece "Summer" has a softer, more relaxed beginning bringing to mind those free-spirited summer days. Chris Gestrin's lovely piano creates a nostalgic vibe before the strings take hold again. Dwyer's excellent sax solo amidst some playful piano lines is another album highlight.

Just as one would expect "Autumn" carries a hint of melancholy, mostly due to some lovely strings which are in direct contrast to an uplifting horn section creating one of the album's most riveting soundscapes. The big band sound comes through in waves offset by the orchestra's more somber motifs.

Deep strings resonate a darker tone in the album closing "Winter" featuring some of the most intricate strings I have heard in quite some time. The darker, more intense moods are offset by the bouncy brass section and a bass line that exudes jazz in a most satisfying way.

Changing Seasons is one of the best jazz releases I have heard in 2012, a startling revelation indeed. An essential release for all fans of the genre.

Track Listing:
1. Spring
2. Summer
3. Autumn
4. Winter

Added: November 20th 2012
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1540
Language: english

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