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Sanford, David Big Band (feat Hugh Ragin): A Prayer For Lester Bowie (Greenleaf Music)

Active since 2013, David Sanford's powerful 20-piece big band based in New York City presents six Sanford originals, along with an effusive arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie's bop composition "Dizzy Atmosphere", the focal point of the album a large and spiritual work composed by trumpeter Hugh Ragin dedicated to and inspired by late trumpeter Lester Bowie.

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product information:

UPC: 186980000862

Label: Greenleaf Music
Catalog ID: CD-GRE-1086
Squidco Product Code: 31019

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Sear Sound, in New York, New york, on June 6th and 7th, 2016, by Tom Lazarus.


Ted Levine-alto saxophone

Kelley Hart-Jenkins-alto saxophone

Anna Webber-alto saxophone

Marc Phaneuf-alto saxophone

Geoff Vidal-tenor saxophone

Brad Hubbard-baritone saxophone

Brad Goode-trumpet

Tony Kadleck-trumpet

Tim Leopold-trumpet

Wayne J. du Maine-trumpet

Thomas Bergeron-trumpet

Hugh Ragin-trumpet, conductor

Mike Christianson-tenor trombone

Jim Messbauer-tenor trombone

Ben Herrington-tenor trombone

Mike Seltzer-tenor trombone

Steven Gehring-bass trombone

Raymond Stewart-tuba

Dave Fabris-electric guitar

Geoff Burleson-piano

Dave Phillips-electric bass, acoustic bass

Mark Raynes-drums

Theo Moore-percussion

David Sanford-conductor

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Artist Biographies:

"Reedist Anna Webber, a Brooklynite by way of British Columbia, is one of the most exciting new arrivals on the New York avant-garde jazz scene in the past couple years. Her second album, SIMPLE, demonstrates the inextricable link between her improvising and her compositions; her detail-rich writing recalls the work of elders as disparate as Tim Berne and Henry Threadgill, and her busy motion evokes a fizzy sort of exhilaration.-Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader

Anna Webber is an integral part of a new wave of the Brooklyn avant-garde jazz scene. A saxophonist and flutist who strives for the unexpected, she has furthermore consistently proven herself to be a unique and forward-thinking composer with releases such as 2014's SIMPLE (Skirl Records) and 2013's Percussive Mechanics. Binary, the follow-up to SIMPLE which features bandmates John Hollenbeck and Matt Mitchell, further establishes Webber as a compelling improvisor and composer."

-Anna Webber Website (

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"Tim Leopold - Trumpet

A native of Kansas, trumpeter Tim Leopold is equally adept in the worlds of classical music, jazz, world music and popular idioms, and he is an active performer and freelance musician in New York City. Mr. Leopold is an active member of the Meridian Arts Ensemble, the Pittsburg Collective, Slee Sinfonietta, the TiLT Brass, Zosimos Ensemble, and has performed as a member of Joshua Roseman's Extended Constellations, Manhattan Brass and other ground-breaking, genre-straddling ensembles. He has played extensively in clubs as a leader of his own projects and as a sideman to others. A talented, experienced performer and educator, Mr. Leopold has taught trumpet, improvisation, and the art of music across the globe and extensively throughout the Americas. Mr. Leopold can be heard in numerous settings in and around New York City from Broadway's Chicago the Musical to Buffalo, New York's Slee Sinfonietta. Mr. Leopold is sponsored by Bach trumpets, a division of Conn-Selmer. Tim received a Bachelors Degree from the University of Kansas and a Masters from the University of Oregon."

-Miller Theater (

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"Hugh Ragin is an American jazz trumpeter.

Ragin was raised in Houston, Texas, and began playing trumpet in his early teens, taking lessons in classical music, and was a member of the Houston All-City High School Orchestra. He received a degree in music education from the University of Houston and a degree in classical trumpet performance from Colorado State University. He continued his education in 1978 at the Creative Music Studio with Roscoe Mitchell. One year later he performed with Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, and the Creative Orchestra at the Moers Festival in Germany. He then toured with Anthony Braxton. During the early 1980s he toured with jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. He began an association with David Murray, becoming a member of Murray's band in the 1980s."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:

1. Full Immersion 12:48

2. Subtraf 9:30

3. Woman in Shadows 8:01

4. popit 2:50

5. A Prayer for Lester Bowie 13:38

6. Dizzy Atmosphere 6:29

7. Soldier and the CEO 7:19

8. V-Reel 8:45
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Music from a [person's] innards will systematize that gut-bucket spillage on its own terms." - Greg Tate. Tate's intention was to place the guitarist Pete Cosey in the creative lineage of Cecil Taylor and Miles Davis, and we can add Lester Bowie to that canon as well. The sense of adventure in Bowie the soloist, composer and bandleader was such that the listener assumes that at any moment, truly anything

The album includes six kaleidoscopic Sanford originals as well as his arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie's classic "Dizzy Atmosphere." Trumpeter Hugh Ragin contributes the moving title composition inspired by trumpeter Lester Bowie.

Sanford started his 20-piece big band in 2013, and since then he's been presenting original works inspired by classical idioms, popular music, and jazz standards. For this project, he wanted to capture the live band sound:

"I really wanted the recording to sound like hearing a band in person, with that raw edge of the brass cutting through, the drums veering toward over-powering, the sense that soloists could be swallowed up at any minute. I was talking with someone about the appealing 'grit' of older - specifically early- to mid-1970s - movie soundtracks. That's the aesthetic I grew up with that made me want to create my own music in the first place. You can still find it live, but rarely in the studio. I love luxuriating in the sound of brass, saxophones, electric guitar, bass, drums, etcetera all in a room."

could happen. The same essence of limitless possibility infuses the work of Hugh Ragin, who, as a young musician, spent ten days studying with Bowie and the Art Ensemble of Chicago at the Creative Music Studio intensive in Woodstock, NY, and in recent years he has frequently performed with the Art Ensemble and other members of the AACM. Exactly forty years ago, when some of the earliest ideas for this band were being formed, Ragin, performing with the University of Northern Colorado's Lab I big band, played a brief but uncommonly dramatic solo at the start of Clare Fischer's "Inthe Beginning" (which also featured a very young Mike Christianson introducing his formidable Grey- and Nanton-inspired plunger technique to a wider audience). Ragin had been featured on Anthony Braxton's Composition 98 and Roscoe Mitchell's Snurdy McGurdy and her Dancin' Shoes at that time, and became a primary influence on the direction and ideology of the band, which would begin performing some twenty-two years later under its now former name, the Pittsburgh Collective. In 2010 Hugh began playing regularly with the group, which already included nineteen brilliant and imaginative musicians, and has effected a far greater and more direct impact on its evolution. Ragin's musical homage to Bowie, a conduction that he directs himself, is the centerpiece in this collection of eight works composed and arranged over the last eighteen years. While they differ in genre and approach, they interconnect and elide as "spillage", or, per Gustav Mahler, as components of a world and embracingeverything. Or, maybe by extension, as Lester Bowie himself said of the AACM, "'s life itself that this is about".-David Sanford

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Large Ensembles
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
New in Improvised Music

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Greenleaf Music.

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