LINE SERIES - Improvisation

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The Shadowgraph Series:

Composition for Creative Orchestra


George Lewis & The NOW Orchestra


George E. Lewis, trombone

The NOW Orchestra:

Coat Cooke, baritone & alto saxophone, clarinet, flute

Bruce Freedman, soprano saxophone

Graham Ord, tenor and alto saxophone, flute, piccolo

Saul Berson, alto saxophone, clarinet, flute

John Korsrud, trumpet

Rob Blakeslee, trumpet, flugelhorn

Brad Muirhead, bass trombone, tuba

Ralph Eppel, trombone

Peggy Lee, cello

Ron Samworth, guitar, electronics

Clyde Reed, contrabass

Paul Blaney, contrabass, electric bass

Paul Plimley, piano

Kate Hammett Vaughan, voice

Dylan van der Schyff, drums


All music written by George Lewis.

Published by Real Time World Music Inc. (BMI)

Recorded, mixed, and edited by Shawn Pierce for Maximum Music Ltd.

Recorded at Blue Wave Studios, Vanocuver, BC, Canada, October 20-22, 1999.


I regard the NOW Orchestra as one of the finest large creative ensembles active in the last twenty years. —George E. Lewis




Selected four times to Coda Magazine's Writers' Choice lists!



What the critics are saying:


The album fills in two glaring discographical gaps: It is the first recording devoted exclusively to Lewis’ orchestra music, and it contains first recordings of pieces from Lewis’ “Shadowgraph” series of composition from the ’70s; more importantly, it documents Lewis’ ongoing work with Vancouver’s NOW Orchestra, which Lewis considers to be “one of the finest large creative ensembles active in the last 20 years.” Throughout the bracing program, which ranges from pore-opening Latin grooves to ear-twisting realizations of graphic notation, the Vancouverites hand in strong individual contributions, confirming what Lewis calls their ability “to code switch, to work back and forth between the scores and their own improvisational approaches without getting stuck.”


—Bill Shoemaker, Jazz Times


"As well as conducting, he takes a preforming role — memorably so on the ferocious outburst in Shadowgraph 3. While the NOW group is a Canadian ensemble, the sounds and shapes of much of this music are in an almost classic AACM mould, a sharp reconciliation of anarchistic soound, free-jazz experimenting and sudden swerves into ensemble unity. The Orchestra rise famously to the occassion. ***(*)


—Penguin Guide to Jazz on cd Seventh Edition


"Six long tracks illuminate the fertile mind of cutting-edge trombonist George Lewis, who grazes avant-garde territory as he roars and rumbles in the company of Vancouver's NOW troops -- 14 strong and abetted here by the spooky voice of Kate Hammett-Vaughan.  ... This is where new music, classical and jazz frontiers merge, and amid the chaos, you'll hear fascinating contributions from saxist Graham Ord, trumpeter John Korsrud, cellist Peggy Lee and guitarist Ron Samworth."


—Geoff Chapman, Toronto Star


"Certainly no other Canadian outfit could respond to the substance and spirit of Lewis's ideas as sympathetically.  Typical of its resources, each member is showcased in one or another of the six Lewis compositions here."


—Mark Miller, Globe and Mail


"Although the NOW Orchestra's previous CD was titled WOWOW, it is this one, The Shadowgraph Series: compositions for Creative Orchestra, which deserves all the wowing.  ... This CD reaffirms The NOW Orchestra's leading position as one of the best creative orchestras around."


—Francois Couture, All Music Guide


"Though a great trombone player, AACMer Lewis's compositional river has always run deep.  A joyous event for George to get a full compliment of West Coast improvisers in a Vancouver based orchestra to work his concep"


—Larry Kusp, Out Front, Out Back


"All of the pieces on this recording were written by Lewis, who once again shows himself to be a sophisticated and wide-ranging writer, incorporating a plethora of influences from swing to avant-garde jazz and even postmodern classical music.  ... When he is in top form, as on his edifying "Smashing Clusters." fireworks explode as he seamlessly blends composition and improvisation."


—Steven Loewy, All Music Guide


"Lewis, it should be pointed out, also plays some extraordinary trombone on these pieces.  On "Hello, Goodbye," amid a delightful jumble, he provides a trombone flurry of unrivalled mastery.  Or on "Shadowgraph 3" he tears through the ensemble with ferocious power."


—Greg Buium, Cadence


"The highlight (of Seattle's Earshot Jazz Festival) -and it was a stunner- was the sprawling concert of original music ... by trombonist George Lewis, played by Vancouver's NOW Orchestra.  The well-honed but wild and wooly orchestra seem to breathe along with the creative and dynamic Lewis."


—Paul de Barros, Seattle Times