Tag Archives: wilhelm muller

Madre Vaca, Winterreise | The Vinyl Anachronist

Just a few days after writing a review on jazz arrangements for Prokofiev, I’ve stumbled upon another CD in the review pile that takes classical compositions and arranges them for a jazz ensemble. In this case we’re talking about the eight-member “jazz collective” known as Madre Vaca and their new album Winterreise, which uses music from Franz Schubert to draw a complex and varied study of melancholia while using many different types of ensembles. Drummer-pianist Benjamin Shorstein arranged these pieces to take advantage of Madre Vaca’s ability to create a multitude of perspectives, with constantly changing moods and sounds. Schubert based his own composition on 24 poems by Wilhelm Muller, which focus on “the story of a rejected man who left his beloved’s home to wander away in the middle of a winter night.” That sounds dreary and full of sadness, but Madre Vaca approaches this subject matter as a way to reflect on our emotions, and how we are sometimes led down a path that’s dark, scary and cold. Through the use of such strong voices as saxophone (Juan Rollan), trumpet (Steve Strawley), trombone (Lance Reed) and guitar (Jarrett Carter), Madre Vaca seems determined to show us the lifelong [...]

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