The Maria Schneider Orchestra: The Thompson Fields | Album Review

Fri, Jun 19, 2015, 00:00


The Thompson Fields

Maria Schneider Orchestra



Though a longtime New Yorker, composer Maria Schneider is still a midwesterner at heart.

Her latest work for the celebrated ensemble that bears her name (the first in eight years) is an act of remembrance, a pastoral suite that conjures Schneider’s Minnesota upbringing and the limitless prairies of the title.

It is a mark of her unique talent that Schneider can take such personal and introspective themes and play them out in the rich sonorities of an 18-piece orchestra.

And in saxophonist Donny McCaslin, trombonist Marshall Gilkes and guitarist Lage Lund, she has musicians who can respond in kind.

Veering from modernist tone experiments to the epic sweep of American romanticism, The Thompson Fields again shows that Schneider has few, if any, peers in contemporary big band writing.