Mark Rosen & Sweet Thunder Jazztet,
(independent, 2006)

The music on Monsoon start and ends in swing, and along the way Marc Rosen & Sweet Thunder Jazztet switch to more elegant and slower forms. They do both styles very well and the numbers frequently flow from one into the other.

The horns bring "Marc VT" gently onto the dance floor, stretching out lines over the tempo set by the drums. You can feel a shift in tempo right from the first notes of "One-Eyed Jack" as the piano take the melody from the horns for a spell. "Mulligan Stew" is a bit of a mixture of different melodies switching on the fly. You go from a dance set to the piano opening "Dormindinha" very slowly, letting the melody build.

After that interlude they head straight back out with "Janet's Blues," which ends up sounding somewhat cheerful. "Eurydice's Theme" leaves us waiting for the lady of the song to make her grand entrance into the room. The piano keeps "Lightening Flash" whirling around, alternating roles with the horns throughout the number. The music slides into "Sweet Thunder" even as the tempo slows down, and while it can still be danced to, the inclination is more to glide.

The horns continue with that pacing into "Janetude," which leaves the music feeling further into the night. The music broadens into "Rolling Thunder" and then when "Charlie's Comin'" rolls around it is time for one last swing on the dance floor to close the night. If Monsoon was an evening's performance you would have had a great time dancing, and several pieces that would give you a chance to rest between. The ebb and flow of the tempo is shaped by the styles that Marc Rosen & Sweet Thunder Jazztet play.

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review by
Paul de Bruijn

9 February 2008

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