Weatherbird, jazz reviewer extraordinaire, a wordy birdie, a cool cat, has often been depressed by the impoverished state of jazz journalism. He studied flugelhorn at one time and always dreamed of going to Julliard, but things didn’t work out as planned.
Unlike many reviewers, he has a knowledge of the art form and digs the blues (very unusual these days). He knows and digs Prez, Dexter, Bird, Bud, Fats and the other Fats, Billie, Sweets, Lady Flip, Thelonius and all the Milts. Not to forget the Roys, Leroy, Wes, and a couple of Oscars. He’s qualified!
Here’s what he’s got to say about Schroder’s CDs:
Some New Stuff:
“This new stuff is even better than the old stuff”
“This is the finest animal jazz I’ve heard yet”
“When I travel I usually fly, but man, this travel jazz really flies high”
Jazz @ Richmond Hill Vol. 3 – Cubism:
“Hey, all you other birds, Cubism is really cool”
When recently asked to give a quick response to the Schroder CDs he missed the first time around, this was the response:
Jazz @ Richmond Hill Vol. 2 – From Bebop to Christmas:
“While I always dug bebop, Christmas was kind of a drag until I happened upon this little mother”
Jazz @ Richmond Hill Vol. 1 – If Music be the Food of Love:
“Great listening when you’re eating cheese”
Catfish Row – Porgy & Bess:
“I loves it- it’s got plenty of somethin”
“Great music for seduction – – listen to it while on the couch”
Return Journey – The MGO: “Moving encounters..”
“…Michelle Nicolle’s distinctive vocals feature in nine cuts, Rebecca Barnard in On My Own and David Williamson in On The Road, leaving five instrumental tracks. The result is like the best of travel – serendipity mixed with myriad frustrations, unexpected insights and moving encounters…” by Roger Mitchell
Zoo Music – The MGO: “Not to be missed…”
“Let me say why I was drawn to this release. As a child, my first exposure to music was the Carnival of the Animals by Saint-Saens and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. I played it time and time again to hear and feel the creatures brough to life through music.
With Ken Schroder at the helm, this big band does very much the same thing. One of Melbourne’s treasures, the Moovin’ and Groovin’ Orchestra has been giggin at the Melbourne Zoo’s Twilight Jazz series for about a decade, and Schroder has written and arranged the 10 pieces, recreating the zoo’s denizens with different soloists on each track. It teems with life and variety but in all, the arrangements and musicality underscore the power of the beasts.
The opener ‘Orangantango’, has the ape dancing a tango, with echo’s of Ellington’s Caravan and it’s Latin overlay. The rhythm section on Cheetah, one of the standout tracks, emphasises the animal’s strength and speed. Other infections highlights include ‘Stampede’ and the driving funk of ‘The Orange Bellied Funky Little Parrots’ (written in honour of the former environment minister Ian Campbell). Not to be missed.” By Leon Gettler