‘They’re Doing It Out of Love’: The Big Band Rises Again | Modern Society of USA

‘They’re Doing It Out of Love’: The Big Band Rises Again

‘They’re Doing It Out of Love’: The Big Band Rises Again

The group’s 2015 release, “Time River,” was both grandiose and immediately rewarding, guided by melody. On “Under the Same Moon,” featuring a cameo from the famed arranger Gil Goldstein on accordion, m_unit’s rich corps of horns returns repeatedly to a lovely, whirlpool phrase, spinning it into your memory. The ensemble’s second album, the equally riveting “Dancer in Nowhere,” is due in February.

Since 2014, Ms. Hazama has curated the Jazz Composers’ Showcase at the Jazz Gallery, an intermittent series where rising composers take turns conducting the same group of musicians on a single night. While born of economic necessity, the cooperative model allows “composers to meet other composers,” Ms. Hazama said. “You share the same big band but each composer has their own colors, and it’s fascinating to hear how different they are.”

Through gatherings like these, the city’s collection of young big-band composers has started to resemble a community of its own. Collaborative outfits like that of Ms. Seguine and Ms. Baker are becoming more common, with composing and organizing duties split between two bandleaders. The bassist Edward Perez and the saxophonist Michael Thomas co-run the Terraza Big Band, which plays monthly at Terraza 7 in Queens — one of the few jazz clubs to host an emerging big band on a regular basis. And the saxophonists Anna Webber and Angela Morris colead a jagged-edged band that has begun to turn musicians’ heads.

“Once you realize what a huge challenge it is to make those projects happen, you become really dedicated to helping other people,” said Brian Krock, an alto saxophonist and bandleader who this year released a strong debut album (produced by Mr. Argue) introducing Big Heart Machine, his 18-piece ensemble. It plays muscly, warped original music, informed by metal, serialism and the jazz avant-garde, as well as more classic big-band influences like Bob Brookmeyer.

The big-bands boom looks like the latest example of jazz’s academic-industrial complex, and of an emerging professional class of overeducated musicians with nowhere to play. Most of New York’s new big bands are run by 20- and 30-somethings who recently graduated from a conservatory or a liberal-arts music program; like most such musicians, they will eventually find careers as teachers. But the music itself continues to break new ground.

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