Composer and arranger Myles Wright puts the spotlight on Los Angeles, as he assembles a cast of area musicians for The LA EP (2016).
The band is comprised of Dan Higgins, alto sax, flute and clarinet; Sal Lozano, alto sax, flute and clarinet; Bob Sheppard, tenor sax and clarinet; Jeff Driskill, tenor sax and clarinet; Jay Mason, baritone sax and flute; French horns by Teag Reaves, Laura Brenes, Dylan Hart and Katie Faraudo; trumpets by Dan Fornero, Rob Schaer, Jeff Bunnell and Bob Summers; trombones by Alex Iles, Ryan Dragon and Charlie Morillas; Craig Gosnel, bass trombone; Doug Tornquist, tuba; Alan Steinberger, piano; Andrew Synoweic, guitar; Rick Shaw, bass; Harvey Mason Sr., drums; and Wade Culbreath, percussion.
The epic “Corridors” opens the set. The music begins softly, like an elegant symphony. After a brief warm-up, it evolves into a delightful, contemporary groove. That’s just one of many transitions the composition will go through. It easily shifts from the tranquil, featuring the piano or woodwinds, to wide open with the brass out front. Sheppard is the featured soloist on tenor sax. He takes over at about the midway point, with perfect balance between his lead and the backing horns. What follows is a sequence in which different instrument groups carry the melody, while the others complement or perform a counter-melody. Superb composition and performance.
The other two tracks are similar in approach, with solos by Higgins, Steinberger, Iles, Synoweic, Summers, Driskill and Mason. The audio disc is accompanied by a Blu-Ray disc, featuring the same three songs.
The session only has three songs, with a combined running time of about 24 minutes. Wright puts a lot into those songs, as each covers a range of moods and mental images.
Born in 1978, Wright has a master’s degree in Studio Jazz Writing from the University of Miami. As an instructor, he has taught at International College of Music at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the University of Notre Dame. He teaches Music Appreciation and Music in Theater.