Dean McNeill  hello Dean
Featured Album
Home
About Dean
Music and Albums
Buy Charts
Concerts and Schedule
News and Articles
Contact
Playing Trumpet

Album Review, by Nick Lavigne, Canadian Association for Jazz Education

Prairie Fire brings together some of Canada's best musicians

Composer, arranger, and trumpeter Dean McNeill has accomplished not one, but two colossal tasks with his release of Prairie Fire. Firstly, he has created some incredible works of art with his original compositions and in his arrangements of other musicians' pieces. Secondly, he has brought some of Canada's best musicians (including bassist Mike Downes, drummer Ted Warren, trumpeters John McLeod and Bill Mahar, trombonist Hugh Fraser, and saxophonists Kelly Jefferson and Campbell Ryga), whom are scattered all across the country, to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to form a large jazz ensemble to record and perform what is now Prairie Fire.

"McNeill is well aware of the wide palette of colors an ensemble this size gives him and he knows how to use them without over doing it."

— Nick Lavigne, Canadian Association for Jazz Education

McNeill has a long list of performing, arranging, and teaching credits (now head of the Department of Music at the University of Saskatchewan) to his name and the experience, education, and knowledge that comes with them make themselves known on Prairie Fire. McNeill is well aware of the wide palette of colors an ensemble this size gives him and he knows how to use them without over doing it. The pensive "Reflections" is a chorale that is beautiful in its simplicity yet impressive with its lyricism. The entire ensemble starts to heat up with the fiery and energetic "Vasquez" as it moves between Latin and swing.

The organized chaos at the beginning of "Daze" is engaging and sets the mood for the rest of the piece. The fact that it never sounds cluttered is a testament to McNeill's talent as an arranger. His treatment of Cole Porters "All of You" is clever, charming and again, shows how a lot can be said with only a little when the right notes are chosen.

If there was any doubt before, Dean McNeill has proven with Prairie Fire that he possesses serious musical talent. It is exciting to think of what other music might be created and documented if it were possible for composers and musicians of this caliber to be able to collaborate more often on projects of this size. Though it's unfortunate this isn't always the case, it does make us appreciate the high quality accomplishments like Prairie Fire even more.

- Review by Nick Lavigne, Canadian Association for Jazz Education

+ Visit the Canadian Association for Jazz Education website

 

In This Section

Phone hi Click to email  Site Map  Privacy Legal
 YAMAHA  The Wedge  SmartSite by Arxus