[A]part – Ellen Kirkwood & Sirens Big Band (2018)

apart cover

This is a jazz album. It is incredibly smooth, complicated, eclectic and utterly fantastic.

To describe it accurately would take too long because there is just such a vast amount of stuff going on here. I only offer some short reflections;

The rhythms are unpredictable and complex yet it’s easy to accept and roll along with once you stop trying to follow it. The songs are more like ‘multiple movements’ separated by track markers. In any of the four 12-16 minute pieces, there will be old timey jazz ya Nan used to love, proggy weird jazz the likes of which any modern math/prog fan will froth over, big band stuff for the actual horn players, smooth loungey stuff for the casual listener..and lo and behold…it’s all still one long composition.

Here’s some other facts to consider. Ellen composed it. She recruited a bunch of people to play it with her and then went and recorded it…live.

What. The. Actual. Shit.

How one person writes this..? Baffles me.

How they recruit the talent…and then gets them together in a room..is another challenge entirely. Anyone who’s been in band with more than 3-4 people can appreciate the headache of coordinating an effort this large.

Then to record it.. freeking live? The hell?????



Moving on.

Highlights..if they can be broken up in such a way… the 4th and final track on this opus. So chill, so relaxed and the vocals…so subtle and sultry, I just adored it. Then it switches..as is their prerogative. The piano and drums kick a little syncopated groove and then the tune rolls with fantastic builds, some bullshit piano leads I cant even understand and then the brass blasts back in with what I guess felt like a fanfare or some kind of crescendo for the movement. It was just fluid, fun and connected well. Listen>


It’s funny.. in the jazz world..this is considered really good music, brave and accomplished. And it is.

In my world…this is an overwhelming cluster of pure unabashed talent and musical genius! My ears can’t follow half of this, I don’t fully comprehend what little I do consider understandable.. I am simply in awe of it. I’m inspired, if nothing else, to get back into my own jazz practice!



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