Joseph Daley: Portraits: Wind, Thunder, Love
Joseph Daley, Composer, Conductor
Violin I and II: Curtis Stewart (Concertmaster), Mazz Swift,
Jason Hwang, Skye Steele, Charles Burnham, Elektra Kurtis,
Jessie Montgomery, Sarah Bernstein
Viola: Nick Revel, Janina Norpoth, Trevor New, Nora Krohn
Cello: Akua Dixon, Marika Hughes, Amanda Gookin, Rubin Kodheli
Bass: Ken Filiano, Ben Brown
Keyboard/Piano: Lafayette Harris
Percussion: Warren Smith
Jerry Gonzalez (Trumpet Percussion), Onaje Allan Gumbs (Keyboards),
Satoshi Takeishi (Percussion), Richard Huntley (Percussion),
Gregory Williams (French Horn)
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 10, 2015
This CD features an interesting, expansive string ensemble, performing Joseph Daley’s compositions. The first composition has five movements for Warren Smith, solo, featured percussionist, with Mr. Smith playing on each of the five tracks, either Vibraphone, Marimba, Tympani, Gongs, or Drum Kit. The noted track below features the gongs. Mr. Daley also adds three tracks, one featuring Bill Cole on South Indian Nagaswaram (as spelled on this album) with double reeds, one featuring Charles Burnham on violin (a tribute to Daley’s wife, Wanda), and one featuring all five Guest Artists, listed above. There are atonalities, melodies, and classical infusions, within this album. The expansive ensemble includes guests on trumpet, percussion, keyboards, and French horn. The motif of wind, thunder, love is exemplified in the contrasting moods, rhythms, and percussive effects. A level of emotionality is inherent within the lengthy and the brief compositions.
All compositions by Joseph Daley.
#4 – Wispercussion/Five Portraits of Warren Smith, Mvt. 4 – Of the five movements on this album, the fourth features Warren Smith on mesmerizing gongs. The music opens and closes with muted, elongated gongs, with an introduction of total percussion, adding chimes and drum effects. These Asian intonations add mysticism and quietude, followed by full string ensemble and piano. There’s classically-infused, musical drama, with a filmatic aura. In the midst of the gongs and added percussion, the sweeping, windy orchestral theme transports the listener with a languorous violin solo (one assumes by Curtis Stewart, Concertmaster) and mixed piano-string rapture. Gongs and percussion find a spotlight again, followed by a soulful string theme and muted gong finale.
#6 – Shadrack/Portrait of Bill Cole – This East Indian-infused theme, thanks especially to added guests, Bill Cole on South Indian Nagaswaram, Jerry Gonzalez on trumpet and percussion, Onaje Allan Gumbs on keyboards, Satoshi Takeishi on percussion, and Richard Huntley on percussion, is spellbinding. The main ensemble, with stirring strings, is thundery and bristling, while the trumpet warbles in dissonance. But, it’s Cole on Nagaswaram and Akua Dixon on cello, who carry this track with magnetic momentum. The presence of many musical genres on this one album is quite impressive.
#7 – Doretha and The Blues/Portrait of Wanda Daley –Charles Burnham’s Grappelli-styled, solo violin theme is romanticized and ebullient, in Daley’s tribute, here, to his wife, Wanda. There are passages of morning lyricism, afternoon bounce, and evening blues. I heard the keyboards in moments of upbeat swing, but it’s Burnham’s violin, supported by the full string ensemble, that expresses and evokes this personal story.
#8 – Industria – Featuring Ben Brown and Ken Filiano on basses, Warren Smith on tympani, Elektra Curtis on violin, and, especially, Gregory Williams on French horn, this final track is the most contemporary and atonal. Opening in solo tympani, them transforming with wild, violin pulse, blended with shimmering horn effects, this piece begs repeat listening (as do the others). What’s most critical is the professional direction of the track (and album), for the ensemble, in this case, to appear at just the moment the undulating violin solo gains magnification and intensity. The total effect, along with duo bass dervish and piquant piano notes, is that of a speeding caravan.