Working musicians in some large ensembles can be forgiven for zoning out from time to time between their assigned parts, as long as they come through on cue. But when you’re performing the challenging big band music of Alan Chan, there's a good chance you’ll mess up if you’re not constantly on alert. “I like there to be surprises in my pieces, places where the music doesn’t go where or how you’d expect,” says the leader.
Shrimp Tale, the captivating debut album by the Alan Chan Jazz Orchestra—one of the brightest of recent additions to the Los Angeles jazz scene—is full of unexpected turns and instrumental combinations. On the title track, the composer briefly introduces a groove-based 5/4 passage, then a salsa section, before juxtaposing one over the other. There melody also quirkily shifts keys.
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“Chan has given Los Angeles a jazz big band with an utterly unique tonal personality.”
— Kirk Silsbee (DownBeat Magazine, February, 2014)
“Alan is bringing a set of sounds that haven’t been heard before in an L.A. big band.”
— Rick Baptist (DownBeat Magazine, February, 2014)
Every track here is a beautiful, soaring expression.
— Marc Myers / JazzWax