The Westerlies
Wish the Children Would Come on Home The Music of Wayne Horvitz

The Westerlies — Wish the Children Would Come on Home The Music of Wayne Horvitz (May 13th, 2014)

USA Flag The Westerlies — Wish the Children Would Come on Home The Music of Wayne Horvitz 
ζ♠   The Westerlies je 4-ka mladých hráčů na mosazné nástroje (NYC). Znají se ze školních lavic v Seattlu. Jejich debutové albu je sada kompozic skladatele a improvizátora Wayne Horvitze ze Seattlu.. Jazzový kritik Kevin Whitehead říká o Horvitz a Westerlies, že jsou perfektní.
ζ♠   Hudba na tomto albu se pohybuje v rozmezí od: dusná (Please Keep That Train Away From My Door), uklidňující (Waltz From Woman Of Tokyo), bombastická (The Band With Muddy), nostalgická (Triads), praštěná, goofy / hravá (Barber Shop), free a experimentální (Interludes) a kouřová (The Store, The Campfire).
ζ♠   Textury a zvuky na albu vytvořené, zní mnohem víc než pouze součet jeho částí (které jsou všechny skvělé!).
Location: New York City ~ Lopez Island, WA
Album release: May 13th, 2014
Recording date: August 4, 2013 — August 8, 2013
Record Label: Songlines
Duration:     47:18
01. Please Keep That Train Away From My Door      2:08
02. 9/8      5:20
03. Sweeter Than The Day      4:11
04. Interlude      1:07
05. Triads      1:38
06. The Band With Muddy      4:58
07. You Were Just Here      5:25
08. Interlude      0:45
09. The Circus Prospered      3:35
10. Home      1:47
11. Waltz From Woman Of Tokyo      3:29
12. Interlude      0:51
13. Love, Love Love      1:51
14. Barber Shop      2:34
15. The Store, The Campfire      3:13
16. Wish The Children Would Come On Home      4:33
♠   Riley Mulherkar — trumpet
♠   Zubin Hensler — trumpet
♠   Andy Clausen — trombone
♠   Willem de Koch — trombone
♠   Wayne Horvitz — DX7 synthesizer (4, 8, 12, 16)
♠   Andy Clausen Trombone
♠   Willem De Koch Trombone
♠   Eric Eagle Engineer
♠   David Foarde Artwork, Design
♠   Zubin Hensler Editing, Producer, Trumpet
♠   Wayne Horvitz Composer, Electronics, Keyboards, Liner Notes, Producer
♠   Andrew J.S. Photography
♠   Tom Lazarus Mastering, Mixing
♠   Riley Mulherkar Trumpet
♠   Tony Reif Executive Producer
By John Garratt 12 May 2014; Score: 6
♣   Anytime a jazz album is billed as So-and-So Plays the Music of Such-and-Such, it ends up being a pretty good bet. Unlike most pop albums devoted to all covers or multiple artists covering one artist, the aforementioned type of jazz tribute comes with a built-in laser beam focus. There’s something about the uniformity of the performer(s) and the consistency of the material, though they be different people, that ups the ante for all involved, including the listener. Wish the Children Would Come on Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz is no exception to this rule. If you clicked on this review, there’s a good chance you know who jazz composer Wayne Horvitz is. But you may be scratching your head wondering “Who the hell are The Westerlies? And does Wayne know about any of this?”
♣   The Westerlies are a small brass ensemble. And yes, Mr. Horvitz approves of the project. He even helped out with it, producing and adding some keys and electronics to the mix. All four members of the Westerlies were Julliard students who were working closely with Wayne Horvitz before this album was even discussed. Their arrangement is a tad unusual, two trumpets to two trombones. So it’s not exactly Canadian Brass in terms of range. But the source material comes from different facets of Horvitz’s musical personality which includes contemporary classical, jazz and something along lines of quirky cabaret. Without a rhythm section, the music can and does breathe on its own. From the potential “hey-look-at-us-we’re-just-four-horns” schtick, the music never suffers.
♣   Wayne Horvitz’s touch to the project feels minimal. He provides an ambient backdrop to three untitled improvised interludes, the total of which comes to a whopping 2:41, and gives the Westerlies a digital impersonation of feedback as the foundation for the title track. It’s odd when you actually stop and think about these four tracks and how they may or may not relate to the rest of the album, but listening to Wish the Children Would Come on Home straight through doesn’t give you that same feeling. Eno-tronics and shifting genres be damned, it just sounds like one body of work.
The mood is known to stretch too. “Please Keep That Train Away From My Door” is the stuff of funerals. Right after that is the waltz “9/8” where one of the trombonists gets plenty of lip exercise in order to provide the appropriate oinks normally reserved for a tuba. True to the waltz’s title, the three-beat phrases are three to a cycle. An easy melody helps disguise this. We take a turn south on “The Band With Muddy”, a tune that sounds part Dixie, part show tune, part modern chamber music. “Home” runs with the show tune component for a peppy, happy 1:46. “You Were Just Here”, the longest track, is also one of the toughest to identify. “Atonal blues” is probably the most accurate way to describe the rubato theme, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle.   “You Were Just Here” sounds like it’s searching for an anchor and remains unsatisfied with what it’s found so far.
♣   In a way, any small chunk of Wish the Children Would Come on Home is nothing but a puzzle piece. You can’t take a 60-second sample at face value, you have to taste the whole pie to get at what’s inside. And what it is inside is no easy task to describe. ♣   Surface listening means you miss out on some rich details. Deeper listening means you may go a little crazy trying to mentally dissect the music. So, what to do? Pick your battles, because Wish the Children Would Come on Home: The Music of Wayne Horvitz means that the Westerlies have arrived and are facing a bright future.
by Maggie Stapleton
♠   “The Westerlies are super great! Wow. Swinging, grooving, clean and tricky playing. This is the group that, once you’ve heard them, you’ll realize they always needed to exist. Unique, original, exciting. And simply killing in the best sense.” — Dave Douglas, GRAMMY-nominated trumpeter/composer
♠   Four young Seattle brass players, all relocated to New York City to study at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music, decided to form a quartet in late 2011. Through much experimentation they discovered a colorful collective sound that drew from American folk music, indie rock, jazz, and classical music. For the next two years they performed constantly in both cities, creating and developing a large repertoire of original compositions. In early 2013 The Westerlies were approached by their Seattle-based teacher, friend, and mentor, Wayne Horvitz, to create a record of his music. They wholeheartedly agreed; all four of them were already very familiar with his body of work and had played in a number of his ensembles. After exploring his prolific output of the past thirty years, they selected a range of jazz tunes, film music, and classical chamber pieces, and chose to record them on location during their annual summer residency in the San Juan Islands of Washington.
The collaborative process between Horvitz and The Westerlies proved to be challenging and fruitful. On the process of arranging Horvitz’s music, Willem de Koch explains that “the unorthodox instrumentation both forced and allowed us to find our own approach to the music, simply because we can’t follow many of the conventional idioms of traditional jazz.” Riley Mulherkar adds, “The process of arranging varied from tune to tune — some are deconstructed and abstracted from their original context, while others are played nearly verbatim to the sheet music. Improvisation is woven into the fabric of everything we play, so whether in an exposed solo or hidden as a texture behind a melody, we are constantly finding new ways to interpret the music in the moment.” Horvitz’s unique sensibilities shine through in every track; he’s clearly concerned with the sources of contemporary American music, such as blues, jazz, and old-time folk, and his music explores them with a nostalgia not immune to disruption and risk. The Westerlies’ vibrant interpretations of Horvitz’s music makes this album an evocative view of one of America’s most engaging genre-bending artists.
♠   The music is primarily pre-composed, but late on the last night of recording Horvitz joined the band for a few improvisations on his piece “Wish the Children Would Come On Home.” Sections of these takes ended up as interludes on the album, creating a contrastingly freer, darker sonic space than the composed material. Zubin Hensler explains, “We felt it was important to pay homage not only to Wayne’s compositions, but also to his output as an improviser. His improvised work with the late great trumpeter Butch Morris is particularly inspiring to me, and is essential to my understanding of Wayne as a complete artist.” “We all love folk music and Americana, and we’ve always thought of ourselves as more of an improvising folk-brass-band, rather than a jazz or classical ensemble,” says Andy Clausen. “The balance between composed and improvised material was, as much as possible, informed by the tune itself. We sought to make the music our own. In some cases that meant straying from the written material, and in other cases, the improvisation and personalization happened more in the dynamics, inflection and style.”
♠   The Westerlies have developed loyal followings in Seattle and New York and are now booking a US tour for Summer/Fall 2014. “We want to take this ensemble as far as we can,” de Koch says. “There’s a lot of personal investment in the group because, one can’t deny, there’s nothing better than playing music with three of your best friends.” Clausen adds, “The band at its core is an original music brass quartet. We are all composers, and the band existed for over a year before we played anything other than our own stuff. We put that on hold to pursue this project with Wayne, but we are now hoping to re-visit a lot of that older material and compose new music for our next album.” The Westerlies have certainly been keeping busy; in addition to their work with Horvitz, in the past year alone they scored and performed a piece with Juilliard Dance, performed and recorded with indie-folk outfit The Relatives, and created a whole new set of original music that includes drums and piano. The Westerlies’ future is full of promise, for they have already proven to be a truly creative and malleable ensemble, both alone and in collaboration. Wayne concludes the liner notes by saying: “Finally, and importantly, they have the perfect name. Like Henry Cowell, Jimmy Giuffre or any number of iconic Westerners who gravitated to NYC, they bring with them a subtle sensibility that I, myself a lover of the West, hear infused with an openness that is restrained and on fire all at the same time.”
♠   The Westerlies The Westerlies are a New York based brass quartet comprised of four friends from Seattle, Washington. Avid explorers of cross-genre territory, The Westerlies are a collectively run ensemble dedicated to the cultivation of a new brass quartet repertoire that exists in the ever-narrowing gap between American folk music, jazz, classical, and indie rock. The Westerlies have premiered over 40 original works for brass quartet since their inception in 2011, and crafted an approach that Dave Douglas had described as “Swinging, grooving, clean and tricky playing. This is the group that, once you’ve heard them, you’ll realize they always needed to exist. Unique, original, exciting. And simply killing in the best sense.” The Westerlies music exudes the warmth of their longstanding friendships, and reflects the broad interests of its members.
♠   Their 2012 — 13 Season included engagements at The Festival of New Trumpet Music, Juilliard in Aiken Festival, The Juilliard School, Shapeshifter Lab, and The Earshot Jazz Festival, and collaborations with Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell and Juilliard Dance. In addition, The Westerlies were invited to perform the music of Wayne Horvitz at The Stone in May 2013. The project was later recorded during the The Westerlies annual residency on Lopez Island, WA