On Nov. 28th, “Whispers On the Wind”, the 6th and latest CD from Chuck Owen with the Jazz Surge was honored with FOUR GRAMMY nominations for:

  • Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album
  • Best Improvised Jazz Solo (Sara Caswell, Vln.)
  • Best Instrumental Composition (Warped Cowboy)
  • Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella (All Hat, No Saddle)

This brings the ensemble’s total up to 7 (!), having received two for “River Runs” in 2014 and one for “The Comet’s Tail” in 2010.

Reviews have been effusive in their praise for “Whispers” with SoulandJazz.com and JazzWeekly naming in their Jazz CD of the week:

  • “creative, poetic, . . . wildly personal” – Buffalo News
  • “a grand sweeping set . . . . Killer Stuff!” – Midwest Record Reviews
  • “an impressive melding of Montana and 52nd St.” – Jazz Weekly
  • “Reality on a sizzling hot silver platter.: – Medium.com

For more comments and reviews visit: http://www.chuckowen.com/media/reviews-and-testimonials/

Please check out the newly renovated webstore where, in addition to Jazz Surge CDs you’ll find an expanded array of charts (including some re-orchestrated versions that eliminate woodwind doubles) and study scores. In addition to the “Whispers” charts, you’ll find arrangements Chuck crafted for Denmark’s Aarhus Jazz Orchestra available for the first time.

While Sept. 8th found most of us Floridians hunkering down or making plans to flee from Hurricane Irma, the Jazz Surge’s latest recording, “Whispers On the Wind”, was widely released.   No sooner than it hit store shelves (a modern metaphor if there ever was one!!), Jeff Simon of the Buffalo News penned the first review calling the project, “creative, poetic, and liable to do all manner of unexpected things in service to American vision”.  In addition, in its 1st week out of the box, the recording debuted atop the “most added” chart in JazzWeek! 

More from Jeff Simon:
“Owen’s record is from another tradition altogether – where Gil Evans could add the poetry of Claude Thornhill’s dance band to Duke Ellington’s highly personal sonic laboratory and come up with wildly personal and unusual syntheses of jazz and pop sound no one had thought of.”

It’s DONE!!   In their 1st recording since the twice Grammy nominated “River Runs”, the Jazz Surge, having shed the orchestral trappings characterizing the prior ambitious work, would appear to have returned to a more standard jazz big band outing. “Whispers”, however, is anything but standard big band fare!!

This project expands upon Owen’s interest in American folk and roots music – leaning heavily on the evocative violin of Sara Caswell, the luminescent harmonica of Gregoire Maret, an array of acoustic guitars deftly played by Corey Christiansen, and even the occasional burst of color from the accordion and hammered dulcimer played by Owen himself.  Randy Brecker, last appearing with the Surge on “A Comet’s Tail”, returns with a blistering solo on “Into the Blue” as well as a rollicking turn on “Gunslingers” – a somewhat otherwordly, Blakey-esque minor blues.

As with River Runs, “Whispers” was conceived loosely as a single entity – a suite of 7 pieces linked by a somewhat ethereal vision and examination of the American tradition & lifestyle. . . . . . . its values, landmarks, folklore, heroes, and myths.   Associating quotes from authors Stephen King, Larry McMurtry, and Cormac McCarthy.  Owen’s music displays a clear affinity for the local color, wry sense of humor, unique personalities, strong sense of place, and disarmingly unsentimental honesty these authors are noted for.   

See the online Store for opportunities to pre-order and get an mp3 track of “Warped Cowboy” delivered IMMEDIATELY!! 

An incredibly enthusiastic response greeted the Jazz Surge’s debut of many of the works from its new recording project in front of an audience filled with prominent jazz composers – including NEA Jazz Master, Chick Corea. Guesting with the band were Randy Brecker and Gregoire Maret who will also be featured on the upcoming recording.