Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gene Marlow's Heritage Ensemble

Gene MarlowI love getting email. I've said that before, right? In particular I love the "have you heard" emails, because usually I haven't but now I will. Last week I got a nice email from a reader named Vivian who wanted me to know about "a composer named Eugene Marlow, and his group called The Heritage Ensemble. He writes both jazz and classical music, as well as interpretations of Hebraic liturgical music, which he performs with his excellent Heritage Ensemble....I hope you can find time to listen to some of the wonderful selections. It took me a week, but I did listen.

Gene Marlow, according to his website, is a jazz and classical composer with compositions for solo instruments, chamber groups and big bands. He's also a working musician, playing parties with his Heritage Ensemble which specializes in "Jewish liturgical pieces and Israeli folksongs arranged in various jazz and neo-classical styles". With the Heritage Ensemble he's recorded a new album, "Making Music of our Own." Honestly, from the samples I hear on the website, I don't love Marlows arrangements as much as Vivian did. Marlow's clearly a pro, but his compositions and playing are a bit mannered for my taste. I've heard enough jazz takes on traditional melodies to not find the idea novel and Marlow's jazz explorations don't push nearly as far past the originals as I'd like to go. That said, I completely understand why Marlow's audience loves this music. There is a gentleness and depth of feeling to the music that is quite engaging. If you enjoy the sound of a classic jazz combo of piano, bass and trap then you should check out Marlow. If you're in New York or the environs, you should consider booking him.

Here's my favorite sample from Marlow's website:

PlayBilbililos ("Rock from whose store we have eaten. . .")

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