February 18, 2009
The Oregonian (Portland, OR)
On "Crane," a piece arranged for the Portland Jazz Composer's Ensemble by R. Wallsmith: "Crane" by Reed Wallsmith of Blue Cranes fame was the most polished piece of music on the program, especially for this setting and this band. (I've written about the Blue Cranes before.) It started with a low saxophone note and a murmur of Paul Mazzio's trumpet joined in, which would swell into a lonesome them. Then, he created a dynamic change to a swift, swinging little section with a very cute tune, before taking it back down for orchestral chords and solo passages, which continued that plaintive idea. It was all very noir-ish, very "LA Confidential." And Wallsmith at the podium kept shushing the band so the individual strands could be distinguished. Smart.