10 Daniel HersogOpen Spaces – Folk Songs Reimagined
Daniel Hersog Jazz Orchestra
Cellar Music CMR010123 (cellarlive.com)

Vancouver-based composer, arranger, trumpeter and conductor Daniel Hersog leads a 17-musician ensemble in his renditions of four well-known folk songs, and six of his own compositions on this, his second album. Recorded in Vancouver, Hersog’s takes on the familiar folk tunes are varied, musical, jazz flavoured, improvised, yet always true to the original and all performed perfectly.

Gordon Lightfoot’s The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald is given a jazz rendition with classical orchestration and harmonies. Held notes lead to Lightfoot’s memorable melody, repeated with gradual entrance of jazzy countermelodies and variations performed by Dan Weiss’ lively drums, Noah Preminger’s improvised tenor horn solo, Kurt Rosenwinkel’s solo/comping guitar and Frank Carlberg’s flourishing piano solo. A brief silence leads to closing gradual instrumental entrances of legato high-pitched rhythmic lines and held-note melody. Unbelievable how respectful, sad and beautiful this all is. 

Hersog’s adaptation of Red River Valley features repeated bass notes from Kim Cass, full orchestra theme and alternating solos, with Rosenwinkle’s guitar leading back to the famous song, now a big surprise, sung by the musicians to closing loud full orchestra and drum cymbal crashes. How Many Roads is Hersog’s self-described “re-composed” version of Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind. His Dylan melody sounds simultaneously familiar yet different, especially in the calming yet fast colourful Carlberg piano solo above Weiss’ drum rolls and orchestral glissandos. Hersog’s compositions are equally enjoyable. Rentrer opening Cass bass line is so intriguing, followed by lengthy colourful orchestral lines and solos. Hersog provides so much space for his musicians to improvise, and there’s so much musical fun for everyone!!

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