SARAH CHAKSAD ORCHESTRA

«The sound of the saxophones, a sweet arid often insipidyellow when only four of them were used, turned to awoody umber when, later, the baritone was added. Thesound of three trombones in harmony had a regalgrandeur. Four trumpets could sound like flame, yet inballads could be damped by harmon mutes to a citricdistant loneliness. Collectively, these elements made upthe sound of a big band.»

Gene Lees, singer, critic, author and publisher of downbeat magazine, described the large-format bandthusly in his farewell essay to the golden era of jazz «Pavilion in the Rain», an ode to the Jazz era when danceable swing became the first pop music in world history and thousands of big bands shaped the genre for two decades until about 1948. Despite different prognoses both jazz and the big band format have survived, not as dance or pop music, but as a highly developed art form. Jazz orchestras no longer subsist primarily on arrangements of film, musical and opera melodies, but find vitality in complex new compositions.

The Sarah Chaksad Orchestra has already caused a sensation with its debut album Windmond . The ever eloquent jazz connoisseur Peter Ruedi wrote in his column for JAZZ'N'MORE of the astonishing sonic happenings within the music of the orchestra led by the Basel-based bandleader, «This is what the big band of the present sounds like.» With the 2019 release Tabriz, Sarah Chaksad and her orchestra are presenting an impressive new opus with compositions reflecting her constant artistic development building upon the foundation laid by the debut album. The enchanting title track featuring Wolfgang Muthspiel’s sensitive guitar as a brilliant guest soloist is named after the historically significant city in northwestern Iran.

 

The composition pinpoints the country of her father's origin and explores different musical cultures, expanding her own jazz dialect. This expansion is particularly evident in Mehamn featuring the distinctive goat horn playing of Norwegian trumpeter Hildegunn Øiseth who, along with Pepe Auer, Paco Andrea, Thomas Luscher, Sebastian Gieck and Eva Klesse, joins a cast of returning members icluding Andreas Böhlen, Cédric Gschwind, Fabian Willmann, Julie Fahrer, Charles Wagner, Jonas Winterhalter, Octave Moritz, Lukas Wyss, Lukas Briggen and Lucas Wirz. Chaksad’s compositional language obsords and adapts new cultural influences in a rather subtle and not immediately audible manner ... and yet is solidly rooted in the tradition of jazz as a lover of different disaporic brides. Think of Latin American, Afro-Cuban or music of varied European provenance.

 

The Sarah Chaksad Orchestra captivates the ear with a colourfulness richer than that of the Big Band in its distant heyday of whose praises Gene Lee sang. The multi-layered songs of the composer/ bandleader/saxophonist, the cleverly intricate rhythms interjected between driving beats and fine ballads and impressive Tutti-sections, the occasional dissonance that disrupts the cosiness at just the right moment, the chromatically superimposed brass sets, the clear voices and fantastic solos ... all together, Sarah Chaksad's album Tabriz proves to be a touching musical experience.

(Steff Rohrbach, 2019)

LINE-UP

Sarah Chaksad as/ss/comp/ld

Andreas Böhlen as/ss/cl/fl

Pepe Auer as/cl/bcl

Cédric Gschwind ts/fl

Fabian Willmann ts/cl/bars

Julie Fahrer voc

Hildegunn Øiseth tp/goat horn

Charles Wagner tp

Jonas Winterhalter tp

Octave Moritz tp

Lukas Wyss tb

Lukas Briggen tb

Paco Andrea vtb

Lucas Wirz btb

Thomas Lüscher p

Valentin Hebel g

Sebastian Gieck b

Eva Klesse dr

the album release tour of the Sarah Chaksad Orchestra is supported by:

»Chaksad ist einer europäischen Ästhetik verpflichtet, mag neue Klangwelten und es darf auch mal knallen. Das Besondere an der Musik von Chaksad ist, dass sie bei aller Komplexität immer zugänglich bleibt. «Ich mag einfache, poppige Melodien», sagt die Komponistin und Arrangeurin, «die Musik soll spannend, aber nicht verkopft klingen.» Das Sarah Chaksad Orchestra ist eine echte Bereicherung für den Schweizer Jazz.«       Stefan Künzli, BZ 16.11.2016

 

»Hier ist eine hochkreative Frau am Werk, die nun ein packendes Debut vorlegt.«

Frank von Niederhäusern im Kulturtipp Nr. 23/16

 

»Glücklicherweise vorbei die Zeiten, wo lediglich Standards neu interpretiert wurden.«

»So klingt die Big Band der Gegenwart.«

Silvano Luca Gerosa in Jazz ‚N’ More Nr. 6/16

 

»Ihre Stärke sind differenzierte, durchgearbeitete, sorgsam überlegte Partituren, in denen sie virtuos mit den Klangfarben der fünfzehnköpfigen Formation spielt. Dies stellt sie eher in die Traditionslinie von Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider oder Mathias Rüegg anstelle von Count Basie oder Duke Ellington, wobei sie keinen dieser Vorläufer kopiert.«

Werner Stiefele, RONDO 3.12.2016