Alan Ferber Nonet – Scenes From An Exit Row

A few weeks ago, I heard about a podcast from I randomly picked an episode to explore, and was greeted with excellent large-ish jazz ensemble writing. As an added bonus, there was a great trombone solo on the tune as well. The host back announced the track as coming from the Alan Ferber Nonet’s CD Scenes From An Exit Row. Shortly thereafter, I ordered the Cd from CD Baby.

I figured that Ferber was the composer/arranger, because it sounded like it was a writer’s CD. It turns out that he is also the trombonist. The band is made up of talented young players from the NY scene. John Ellis is featured on tenor sax, and David Smith is listed on trumpet. I am pretty sure this is the Dave Smith that I worked with in a cruise ship band some years ago. Besides being a great musician and a nice guy, Dave was one of the founding members of the Bahamian Deck Hockey League.

Scenes From An Exit Row is full of great playing and writing, and cuts a pretty wide stytlistic swath. Ferber makes compelling use of less often heard colors like wordless vocals and bass clarinet. The tunes range from modern sounding multiple meter grooves, to Mingus flavored textures, and even pretty straight up bebop. Despite the stylistic range, this recording doesn’t sound like a demo or an aural calling card. It has a nice flow as a larger unit, and is an enjoyable and rewarding listen.