STEVE BAUER ORCHESTRA – LIVING DREAMS
Hold Records (Private Label), Boston -1980.
Found this album –apparently a rather rare private pressing – while cratedigging in Brussels last week. And what a find it was: an obscure and strange modern big band by a group of mostly forgotten Berklee students / graduates.
No information whatsoever on the Net. The only relevant info I managed to find was, sadly, an obituary for Steve Bauer.
It was Bauer’s sole album. An Internet research confirmed that most of the participating musicians took teaching (at Berklee) or have faded into (semi)-obscurity. How strange is destiny!
This record is weird, really: the 1’40” version of This Thing Called Love ranges among the most bizarre versions of this theme.
Spring is Here received a strange treatment also.
There is an haunting quality, difficult to define, in some tracks, e.g. the title track “Living Dreams” by guitar player Ken Taft (who’s now a very respected academic at Berklee).
There is a sprinkling of electronic keyboards but don’t worry it ain’t no smooth jazz.
The Last Straw starts as a fairly dissonant blues fanfare. No wonder it had to be issued as a private pressing, it did not fit into any known mould.
On the whole it doesn’t sound like anything else. One may hear some shades of Gil Evans, and some of the occasional pomposity of Kenton but it’s definitely Bauer, whatever that may mean. I would label it Garage Big Band as it sounds as if it were recorded in someone’s garage.
With the benefit of hindsight, the sleeve notes appear completely off the mark.
“All in all this is an auspicious recording debut for a musician whom I’m sure will be around the jazz scene for many years to come”
How ironic as it was to be Bauer’s sole recording.
|Steve Bauer (c. 1979)|
First time in the blogworld I think?