Ben Gailer, Auckland Jazz Orchestra: Monolith (digital outlets),

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Ben Gailer,  Auckland Jazz Orchestra: Monolith (digital outlets),

The Auckland Jazz Orchestra has proven to be a fine, professional vehicle for young composers and performers as well as sound interpreters of music like that of the late Phil Broadhurst.

Here Auckland composer, arranger and pianist Ben Gailer gets to hear his sometimes lush but refined work given polish and punch alongside an increasingly overwrought performance of a tumultuous jazz-rock Softly As In a Morning Sunrise by vocalist Rachel Clarke (who nails it much better in the quieter passages and the coda).

There is wit in Gailer's playing and arrangements (Rondo) as well as a light touch (The Jester) and some fine solo spots and ensemble playing throughout. (In the absence of information other than the music we can't name the various saxophonists or members of the excellent horn section).

On the evidence of the woozy Little Waltz and the lovely, mood-shifting, slightly quirky Equinox here you'd hope Gailer might be in line for some soundtrack work.

He can also write a memorable jazz-pop melody too (Taniwha) which in a better world would find a place on radio or television.

For a debut recording of his material, 25-year old Ben Gailer should be very pleased. He has a professional album which stands on its own merits and is a classy calling card to pull out when he needs it.

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You can hear and buy this album at bandcamp here


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