Music Ward > Live Shows

Maria Schneider



We went to see her last night at Duke. It was a great concert. Mostly modern big band compositional art stuff as expected, with a few moments of real jazz thrown in. She is quite a character. Paranoid, wacky, eccentric, etc.

I saw two audiophiles that I know there in the audience within 3 rows of me. There must have been many more. It's a perfect audiophile/jazz act.

The sound of Baldwin Auditorium ain't great as it has a giant dome over the whole audience. There is a lot of acoustic treatment, diffusion and absorption on the walls and up in the concave dome, but it's not enough to stop the mud from building up when the volume and complexity rises. Basically the hall sounds terrible. Only the slow quiet tunes and passages were totally comprehensible, but those were gorgeous. My wife had her fingers in her ears a lot, she said that cleaned it up a lot.

Remarkably, almost all the band members were featured in some way. It's what you should expect from a band with this depth of talent. Some of the stars were featured a couple times like Donny McCaslin, but most everyone else had at least one solo or some other prominent ensemble part. Everyone can blow. No drum solo, hallelujah, but he was awesome doing what god intended big band drummers to do. The bassist was the only truly low register instrument and it was hard for him to fill in the bottom all by himself. Could only hear the rasp and bite of the bari and bass bone. Big bands are notoriously middle and top heavy tonally. They brought their own PA and soundman, so the sound was as good as possible. Every instrument was individually miked with nice condensors.

A couple of my old friends from Berklee College are in the band. Greg Gisbert was awesome on trumpet as a jazz soloist and section lead. Donny McCaslin still looks exactly the same. I sold my flugelhorn to Scott Robinson while he was working at a NYC music store in 1986 to make my rent. haha

The trombonist Marshal Gilkes was spectacular, by far the best soloist of the night. Incredibly imaginative and musical lines, fast and explosive, all over the horn and it all made serious harmonic sense. Rare these days. He has two albums on Tidal, worth checking out.

They are playing the Blue Note NYC in June 2018. Highly recommended. In that venue you will be able to hear everything clearly, and she will have the best possible band.

Nick B:
Thanks for the report, Rich. Iím not familiar with Maria Schneider, but Iíll look her up on Tidal tonight. It must be nice to hear some live tunes, even if the acoustics are so-so

Wow, how did I totally miss that she would be there (Baldwin is 3 blocks from my house).    I will say that I've seen a choral performance and a piano concert in that hall and was quite impressed with the sound.  But I can see how a full orchestra would totally overwhelm it.   Love her music!

Mike, you probably already subscribe to Duke Performances mailings, that's how I found out. Some very nice concerts there. I'm seeing Tallis Scholars in Duke Chapel next week. 
btw, Do you know about my G2G this saturday? You're invited, of course. Should be a big one.

Nick, some of her albums have won Grammys. She is prodigy of Gil Evans, worked with him. The band has the best musicians in the country. I think it's the last remaining innovative big band. I like Basie and Kenton better, but she is the modern big band sound.

You won't ind her on Tidal or any other streaming service. She is very outspoken critic of streaming, she is a strong advocate for artist copyrights, etc. Testified to Congress on that. She self publishes on ArtistShare label, her "Concert in the Garden" album was their first release, which won Grammy in 2004. Her CDs are available on Amazon.

This is my favorite Maria Schneider album...

The cover doesn't hurt...

Rich - PM sent


[0] Message Index

Go to full version