|The collective gig experience of the band members is amazing. They've worked with a wide variety of artists -- from Duke Ellington, Dizzy, Elvin Jones, and Art Blakey to Frank Zappa, Blues Brothers, and Sinatra. Amongst the sixteen players they've got every imaginable idiomatic nuance covered, from plunger wailing to 'Trane-like split note screaming. Individually, they all have distinct sounds, and this provides a large palette of colors to choose from and combine in my writing.
I wanted to be able to stretch out with my writing for this band, even if that meant the individual parts the guy's would have to play were likely to be pretty difficult. But I wanted the band to swing, and not just be an esoteric exercise. Basically I had two goals: to compose music that would be unique, interesting and emotionally affecting for both the players and the listening audience; to have the music serve as a complimentary showcase for a band full of soloists. The music requires sixteen musicians who are great readers with superb chops, understand nuance and know how to blend as a unit, AND who are also all creative soloists who've developed their own sounds. I got everything I needed and then some from the great players in 16/NYC, and there is a wide diversity of solo styles and conceptions in the band. They play with balls as well as finesse, and they really make my music come alive. - Rick Wald