The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - REVIEWS MUSIC - Jo­ce­lyn Clarke Ray Comiskey Ray Comiskey

The Os­car and Gram­my­win­ning com­poser James Horner (who, un­usu­ally, has a PhD in Mu­sic Com­po­si­tion and The­ory) has worked with sev­eral Hol­ly­wood A-list direc­tors, in­clud­ing James Cameron (Ti­tanic, Aliens), Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beau­ti­ful Mind), and Wolf­gang Petersen (A Per­fect Storm, Troy). He’s also made a ca­reer out of mem­o­rable ro­man­tic themes (un­for­tu­nately, one be­came Ce­line Dion’s My Heart Will Go On). Re­cently, how­ever, Horner has be­gun to take a less ortho­dox and more pro­mis­cu­ous approach to his scores, par­tic­u­larly to Chum­scrub­ber and The Forgotten, and to a lesser ex­tent to Flight­plan and The New World.

For Mel Gib­son’s blood­soaked ad­ven­ture Apoca­lypto, Horner (who also scored Gib­son’s The Man With­out a Face and Brave­heart) has crafted a lean and dy­namic score to evoke the last days of the Mayan civ­i­liza­tion. Fea­tur­ing vo­cal so­los by the Qawwali singer Ra­hat Nus­rat Fateh Ali Khan and Terry Ed­wards, Horner’s un­con­ven­tional score com­bines South Amer­i­can pan pipes and Ja­panese shakuhachi, elec­tronic strings and brass, eth­nic per­cus­sion and found sounds with short melodic lines (mostly heard on the flutes) and driv­ing poly-rhythms.

Open­ing and clos­ing with the brood­ing and poignant From the For­est, Apoca­lypto de­scribes a mu­si­cal jour­ney that is equal parts dra­matic and lyri­cal, thrilling and solemn. It proves to be one of Horner’s most en­gag­ing and sur­pris­ing scores. www.apoca­lypto.com DAN WIL­LIS Vel­vet Gen­tle­men Om­niTone ★★★★ Wil­lis, multi-reed­man and com­poser/ar­ranger, leads a septet in­clud­ing trum­pet/flugel­horn, gui­tar, bass, elec­tric bass and key­boards/ac­cor­dion, with John Hol­len­beck on drums, in a pro­gramme of his pieces in­spired by Erik Satie and quan­tum physics the­ory. What emerges is, for the most part, fresh and, de­spite a mix of jazz, rock and clever use of se­ri­al­ism and sound loops, sur­pris­ingly uni­fied and ho­moge­nous. Wil­lis, who plays 11 wind in­stru­ments here, is a fine soloist with a highly de­vel­oped sense of line to go with his judge­ment as an ar­ranger; dou­bling and loop­ing also al­low him to cre­ate deeply tex­tured en­sem­bles for his very ca­pa­ble soloists, Chuck McKin­non (trum­pet), Pete McCann (gui­tar) and Ron Oswan­ski (key­boards/ ac­cor­dion). At its best the mu­sic is fas­ci­nat­ing, par­tic­u­larly Many Worlds The­ory, Place of En­light­en­ment, Door to Yes­ter­day and, above all, Closed Loops in Time. www.om­nitone.com JOE ZAW­INUL Brown Street Birdjam/In­tu­ition ★★★ Com­poser/key­boardist Zaw­inul re­vis­its the mu­sic of his Weather Re­port days with Cologne’s WDR big band on a su­perbly recorded live date at his club in Vi­enna. The ar­range­ments, save for Zaw­inul’s riff-based chart for Pro­ces­sion, are Vince Men­doza’s, and it’s clear he gave the leader very much what he wanted. Some were fur­ther “tweaked” by Zaw­inul in re­hearsal, so the re­sults re­flect his vi­sion, with el­e­ments of fu­sion, rock and world mu­sic. The WDR is as­ton­ish­ing; crisp, re­laxed and pow­er­ful, it grooves eu­phor­i­cally at times, no­tably on Brown Street and Black Mar­ket on the first CD, and Night Pas­sage and Car­naval­ito on the sec­ond. Soloists, some im­ported, are hugely ca­pa­ble, es­pe­cially Karolina Strass­mayer and Heiner Wibery (so­prano/alto), and John Mar­shall and Kenny Rampton (trum­pet/flugel­horn). One for the fans. www.mu­s­ic­connec­tion.org.uk

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