Idan Santhaus: There You Are (2013)
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This debut release from composer/multi-reedist Idan Santhaus was a long time coming. There You Are actually started to take shape in April of 2008, when four of these tracks were recorded with a solid sixteen piece band, but that was just the beginning. It took three more years for Santhaus to get back into the studio with his jazz orchestra, which was now split between returning members from the first session and new faces, and it would be another two years before this album would finally see the light of day. That moment came in August of 2013, more than a decade after Santhaus arrived in New York.
The Israeli-born Santhaus came stateside in 2001, ready to continue his jazz studies in earnest. He earned a degree from SUNY Purchase, where he studied with bigwigs like bassist Todd Coolman and trumpeter Jon Faddis, and he began tweaking the standard big band formula with his Reedless Big Band. When Santhaus' time at SUNY Purchase was done, he furthered his studies by participating in the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop, which brought him in contact with some brilliant writer-mentors like Jim McNeely, Michael Abene and Mike Holober. All of these experiences helped to prepare Santhaus for his first leader date.
There You Are is made up of originals and the focus is squarely on Santhaus' composing; he only picks up an instrumentthe fluteon one track, choosing instead to share his thoughts through his writing. Santhaus starts off with the positive, delivering the hopeful "After All," but the mood quickly changes with "Tempo Rarely," which opens and closes with ominous overtones but explores other notions in mid-flight. The title track puts the spotlight on Santhaus' flute and Frank Basile's baritone saxophone, balancing the highs and lows in focused soloists, while "Purple And Yellow" expands from a reflective state to a more affirming and substantive place.
The personnel on There You Are is a mixture of well-known veterans, up-and-comers, and virtual unknowns, but they all stand together as one on the common ground that Santhaus creates. Coolman and drummer John Riley hold down the fort on every track, trombonist Michael Dease makes a splash or two, multi-reedist David DeJesus turns some heads with his horn work, and multi-reedist Matt Garrison makes his mark when he takes center stage. Other notables include pianist Deanna Witkowski and trombonist Andy Hunter.
Santhaus does a good job forging a group identity, despite the fact that this album is really delivered by two groups. His compositions occasionally leave the ear wanting a bit when it comes to melody, but his music is never short on interesting ideas and captivating developments. Hopefully this will be the first of many large group dates from Idan Santhaus.
Track Listing: After All; Tempo Rarely; There You Are; Now I Feel Like It, Now I Don't; Purple And
Yellow; A Place I Know; Change Of Season; High Maintenance; Nothing Yet?!.
Personnel: Idan Santhaus: flute (3) Ben Kono: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, clarinet
(2, 5, 6, 9); David DeJesus: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, clarinet; Dan
Willis: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet (2, 5, 6, 9); Jon Gordon: alto saxophone, soprano
saxophone, flute (1, 3, 4, 7, 8); Matt Garrison: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet; Frank
Basile: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet; Mark Small: tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet
(1, 3, 4, 7, 8); Jon Owens: trumpet, flugelhorn (2, 5, 6, 9); Max Darche: trumpet,
flugelhorn (2, 5, 6, 9); Bruce Harris: trumpet, flugelhorn; James O'Connor: trumpet,
flugelhorn (2, 5, 6, 9); Seneca Black: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 3, 4, 7, 8); John Replogle:
trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 3, 4, 7, 8); Thomas Barber: trumpet, flugelhorn (1, 3, 4, 7, 8);
Michael Dease: trombone; Brent Chiarello: trombone; Mike Christianson: bass
trombone; James Hirschfeld: trombone (1, 5, 6, 9); Andy Hunter: trombone (1, 3, 4, 7,
8); Deanna Witkowski: piano (2, 5, 6, 9); Roy Assaf: piano (1, 3, 4, 7, 8); Andrew
Synowiec: guitar (1); Todd Coolman: bass; John Riley: drums.
Record Label: Posi-Tone Records