is one of a handful of jazz musicians who consistently turns out compelling recordings featuring original music performed by large ensembles. Spirit Music
is among his finest efforts, yet another collaboration with the splendid New Art Orchestra
, which excels in its interpretations of his demanding charts. Although Brookmeyer
occasionally solos on valve trombone, his primary instrument is the orchestra itself, which he conducts with precision. Some of the works, such as "The Door," have a brooding air, but the bulk of this release reveals a degree of hope. Brookmeyer
is at the forefront of "Silver Lining," a swinging piece likely inspired by the standard "Blue Skies." The upbeat "Happy Song" is powered by John Hollenbeck
's drumming, with potent solos by trumpeter Ruud Breuls
and soprano saxophonist Marko Lackner
is also featured, along with the leader, in the melancholy, very moving ballad "Alone."