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Manhattan Brass / Press

“Speaking of dazzling, Manhattan Brass is off the chart, and the recorded sound is similarly spectacular...(this group) sounds like they can play ANYTHING.”

“The Manhattan Brass has the right timing and sense of rhythm to give to these four pieces of mine the ideal feeling and balance. I was so happy when my old friend Lew Soloff called home to tell me they were recording my compositions.”

Paquito D'Rivera - New York Now CD

“(the arrangements) are perfect for this talented quintet. A kooky, pulsing version of "Jingle Bells" is one highlight... Another gem is Walrath's reworking of "The Little Drummer Boy" as "Lil Drummer Dude",  which shifts into a full-on brass-band party.”

Davis Inman - Downbeat

“Manhattan Holiday is a holiday CD with astounding virtuosity and wonderful purity of tone that elevates the Holiday repertoire with creative arrangements to a level that is a joy to the musical senses. Manhattan Brass has the ability to inspire a passion for Holiday music that is more than just filler music, but it is truly high artistry.”

H. Allen Williams - JazzTimes

“This is one of most inventive polished performing groups around today.”

Grady Harp - Amazon.com Hall of Fame Top 50 Reviewers

“This is so cool I can barely find the words.”

M.S. Tucker - FAME Review

“Christmas CDs come and go, but the one released this year by the Manhattan Brass Quintet should remain a holiday jazz staple for years to come.”

“Top 50 Jazz Chart: Most Added week ending 12-9-2013”

Jazzweek

“...a holiday offering with a difference. ***** (5-stars)”

John Henry - Audiophile Audition

“This is a wonderfully after hours New York holiday experience. Well done.”

Chris Spector - Midwest Record Review

“The challenging works on the recording (New York Now) are performed with flawless technique, but with great attention to the slightest of musical details. This recording is a testament to the novel idea that serious music for brass quintet can also be enjoyable for the listener.”

Jeremy Kolwinska - International Trombone Association Journal

“How can I describe this listening experience? Think about the various rock and roll "super groups" that have been formed over the years - Cream, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and Traveling Wilburys. Add Manhattan Brass to that list.”

“Most of the songs/carols here will pop up on a lot of Christmas albums that have been issued since time immemorial, but I guarantee they won't sound like this.”

Lance Liddle - Bebop Spoken Here

“Manhattan Brass has been performing jazz music for over 20 years and has never wavered in their brilliant and amazing performances.”

Chelsea Lewis - The Celebrity Cafe

“Outstanding readings by Manhattan Brass”

“There is just no better way to jump into the holiday mood than to listen to this impeccably polished brass ensemble.”

Grady Harp - Amazon.com Hall of Fame Top 50 Reviewers

“They take us through the holidays with a wink and a few twists on new works and some very clever arrangements that make this album one of the finest of the season.”

Grady Harp - Amazon.com Hall of Fame Top 50 Reviewers

“So, what's the difference between this and a Canadian Brass Christmas? How about the arrangements here are by Carla Bley and Jack Walrath! …The Lew Soloff led crew had the flawless chops to back up any promises made and make sure they are delivered.”

Chris Spector - Midwest Record Review

“5.0 out of 5 stars The best of brass for the best of holiday music!”

Grady Harp - Amazon.com Hall of Fame Top 50 Reviewers

“Everyone knows Manhattan Brass - and if they don't they should.”

Grady Harp - Amazon.com Hall of Fame Top 50 Reviewers

“And if you're thinking "Man, these poor bastards must've burned synapses coming up with all this!", well, they took four years assembling the disc, so no really damaging decortication took place as far as I can tell...but it possibly could occur on your end of the deal, so I suggest having happy holiday hard cider to hand and imbibing liberally. What could it hurt?”

M.S. Tucker - FAME Review

“In terms of a holiday feast, the CD's soup to nuts, embracing just about everything, even baroque and classical strains.”

M.S. Tucker - FAME Review

“The question, then, is this really Christmas music? Oh hell no!...even though it is. It's actually just as much satirical (the swozzled It Came upon a Midnight Clear, Jingle Bells) as reverent (The Christmas Song, etc.) as freak-out (Funky Stuffing) as avant-garde (many places) as jazz (Lil Drummer Dude) as purely adventurous.”

M.S. Tucker - FAME Review

“I mean, combos like the Art Ensemble, Either-Orchestra, or any of a number of outside ensembles have nothing on Manhattan Brass.”

M.S. Tucker - FAME Review

“Used to interpreting classical, modern classical, avant-garde, free jazz, and other musics, the two new guys brought in even more ideas, to the point that they're basically a horn version of the Kronos Quartet, and, in any just context, would be carried by the ECM label…”

M.S. Tucker - FAME Review

“The Manhattan Brass prides itself on breaking down barriers and they surely do, putting a richly informed spin on every bar and measure.”

M.S. Tucker - FAME Review

“the songs are often irreverently but lovingly arranged to take full advantage of everything to hand.”

M.S. Tucker - FAME Review

“Manhattan Holiday is the Christmas release from a band that, when it says it's brass, means it.”

M.S. Tucker - FAME Review

“It's not a Christmas party record but rather one to relax with after the guests have gone, you've swept up the broken glass, pacified the neighbours, pledged a contribution to a police charity and let it all hang out under the mistletoe. I'll rephrase that last sentence. A time to unwind and enjoy the music and whatever food and drink the departed "friends" have left you…”

Lance Liddle - Bebop Spoken Here

“These are carefully crafted arrangements with the emphasis on the rich harmonies and the (mainly) trumpet solos. Lots of growling in the Ducal tradition but also some cool modern solos and clever intertwining lines.”

Lance Liddle - Bebop Spoken Here

“…when you've got Carla Bley or Jack Walrath doing the arrangements, then you know that Santa ain't gonna get stuck in no chimney!”

Lance Liddle - Bepop Spoken Here

“The counterpoint is always clear in the ensemble and the balance of the chords and various layers are always top shelf. This is the type of sound only achieved by a virtuoso group of musicians that has played as an ensemble for a long time.”

H. Allen Williams - JazzTimes

“The ensemble’s phrasing is impeccable during the closing statement, with wonderful use of space that is played naturally and with precision.”

H. Allen Williams - JazzTimes

“…every now and then a group will standout to point that one must dig deeper to find out more information about the group and its players. The dynamic brass quintet called Manhattan Brass is just one of those groups that contain excellent arrangements played with beauty, clarity, accuracy, balance and full of interaction.”

H. Allen Williams - JazzTimes

“(Taylor’s) trombone solo and plunger work is superb.”

H. Allen Williams - JazzTimes

“The melody is stated with a “wah wah” style with the plunger over lush chords and then effortlessly falls into a gospel feel for the trumpet solo.”

H. Allen Williams - JazzTimes

“The quintet instantly displays their command of creating musical depth with the various counterpoint and harmony lines.”

H. Allen Williams - JazzTimes

“Manhattan Brass is made up of some of New York’s finest brass players that are gifted with technique and musicianship…Individually and collectively they provide a unique sound that captures New York’s energy and style during the Holidays.”

H. Allen Williams - JazzTimes

“The brass artists negotiate the challenges set by Walrath and Bley not just with aplomb but with irresistible élan and wit.”

Doug Ramsey - Rifftides - Arts Journal

“Walrath’s arrangements complement Bley’s charts perfectly and between the two, the whole project has a very unified sound that is easily conveyed by the quintet’s ability to control pitch and balance and their musical understanding of the pieces.”

H. Allen Williams - JazzTimes

“Her (Bley’s) writing is occasionally wry, more often just plain gorgeous.”

Doug Ramsey - Rifftides - Arts Journal

“(arrangements of music) transformed by Jack Walrath for the apparently limitless capabilities of the quintet.”

Doug Ramsey - Rifftides - Arts Journal

“In this stunning album, five of the world’s leading brass virtuosos play Christmas music arranged by two of the world’s leading writing virtuosos.”

Doug Ramsey - Rifftides - Arts Journal

“Manhattan Brass has worked with the best of the best in the jazz music industry, and their performances have stood the test of time.”

Chelsea Lewis - The Celebrity Cafe

“Like in previous albums, the band takes these holiday classics to a different level and makes the music sound fresh once again.”

Chelsea Lewis - The Celebrity Cafe

“The 11-track album concludes with a stunning and beautiful performance of "Joy to the World."”

Chelsea Lewis - The Celebrity Cafe

“Manhattan Holiday is a great way to enjoy holiday music while being able to hear the classics through a new sound.”

Chelsea Lewis - The Celebrity Cafe

“There's much to enjoy on "Manhattan Holiday" with the intelligent arrangements, the global scope of the music and the splendid playing of Manhattan Brass. By the time you arrive at the lovely rendition of "Joy To The World" (arranged by Ms. Bley), you'll be moved. Any evidence of "Bah Humbug" should dissipate.”

Richard Kamins - Step Tempest

“For music fans, it will be interesting and a change of pace to hear these very common songs take on a unique life once again through the lens of jazz music.”

Chelsea Lewis - The Celebrity Cafe

“This CD opens with a New Orleans-infuenced arrangement (by Ms. Bley) of "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" - that tune sets the pace for the program, with a touch of blues, a bit of irreverence and and a palpable joy in playing melodies. One can hear that joy shining through the raucous take on "Little Drummer Dude" (based on "Little Drummer Boy") - the horns take turns playing the staccato drum part and there is an Ellington-inspired break in the middle. It's tough not to smile through Walrath's arrangement of Respighi's "Siciliana" which moves in and out of its classical mode to allow for short solos by all involved.”

Richard Kamins - Step Tempest

“This group of musicians brings their intense love of classical music and jazz improvisation to tunes both familiar and unfamiliar to the casual ear, and slyly creates music that is both accessible and avant-garde. Now those are words you don’t usually see mentioned when we’re talking about Christmas music!”

“The band is as dynamic as ever and the arrangements are indeed unique. The overall sound is somewhere between Celtic and New Orleans, owing to the instrumentation. It is not your ordinary Christmas CD.”

D. Oscar Groomes - O’s Place Jazz Magazine

“Definitely one of the best of new holiday titles this year, though you'd expect that with such great players and arrangers (love Carla Bley). We'll be adding for this and future holiday seasons. a real gem.”

Chris Heim - KMUW Kansas Public Radio, Wichita, KS

“#3 Top Jazz Adds CMJ issue #1321 & 1322 -- #4 Top Jazz Adds CMJ issue #1324 -- #5 Top Jazz Adds CMJ issue #1323 - Holiday 2013”

CMJ Top 40 Jazz Chart

“It is the best new holiday recording I have heard this year.”

Linda Yohn - Radio WEMU, Ypsilanti, MI

“Critic's Pick”

“This is not your grandfather's brass quintet!”

“…virtuosity, precision, and a stylistic mastery that could be matched by few, surpassed by none.”

“This recording is a testament to the novel idea that serious music for brass quintet can also be enjoyable for the listener.”

Jeremy Kolwinska - International Trombone Association Journal

“…performed by truly exceptional musicians who are also enjoying themselves, the listening experience is profound.”

“…they play with impressive rhythmic energy, excellent balance, and a style that should be seen as an ideal to achieve.”

“Manhattan Brass has opened a whole new world of brass quintet performance. They are carving their own special niche - they are stellar.”

“This is exceptional music played with emotion, energy, and flair.”

“Highly recommended...fabulous playing”

“The soprano saxophone is artfully fused into the brass quintet as an equal member.”

“Daniel Schnyder's Euphoria is a new masterwork…”

“…this recording should be heard by any brass quintet that is planning to program these…”

“The Manhattan Brass has long brought a spontaneous flash to contemporary classical music; now, with new trumpeter Lew Soloff, the group’s sound has never been jazzier.”

“Huge talents are combined here to make an even more impressive whole.”

“Not only is it the cover of this CD with the title 'BRASS' as focus point of attention, it is actually the music itself that gets put together, realigned and reassembled in so many joyful and heartfelt ways that one cannot imagine something more exciting.”

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