Sky Blue (2007) (Grammy Award Winner for 'Best Instrumental Composition' -- 'Cerulean Skies')

liner notes
*Best Instrumental Composition (Cerulean Skies)
*Best Large Jazz Ensemble

Related reviews:

"She now has become entrenched among the ranks of America's leading composers. ... For Schneider, the question is no longer whether she can sustain the heights she has attained on earlier recordings; it is now how far her musical journey will take her."

-- DOWNBEAT ***** -- James Hale

"...on this disc [Sky Blue] she has incited seven adventurous and heart-stoppingly gorgeous solos from various long-term band members, wrapping each of their eloquent statements in the grandeur, the majestic ebb and flow of her twenty-piece ensemble."

-- ALL ABOUT JAZZ -- Dan McClenaghan

"It seemed impossible for Schneider top her Grammy-winning Concert in the Garden, but she's done just that with Sky Blue. She has elevated her music to a seemingly impossible height. ... Cerulean Skies” is the masterpiece within a masterpiece, ... Magnificent. A magical work of art, from beginning to end."

-- ALL ABOUT JAZZ -- Dan McClenaghan

"Blue, as in "Sky Blue" and "Cerulean Skies," reflects the young colorist's Picasso-like "blue period." Like the symbolic overtones associated with the color itself, Schneider's luminous, azure odes are imbued with mystery and serenity, beauty and truth."


"What she does, across the five elegant tracks of Sky Blue, is to create new strands of melody - finely crafted yet tough as steel cable - set within orchestrations that are richly detailed and unhurried, lush but never schmaltzy."

-- THE GUARDIAN -- John L Walters

"Plan on wearing out this album [Sky Blue], because you will want to keep listening for deeper insights. All those little digits will eventually get their edges worn off from being played so often."

-- TUCSON CITIZEN -- Chuck Graham

"Sky Blue is an album of remarkable depth and beauty—an expansive, imagery laden experience, from an artist who’s ready to be considered in the same breath as those who’ve been so important to her own development."

-- ALL ABOUT JAZZ -- John Kelman

"Thanks to engineer Joe Ferla, the sound on Sky Blue is as charming as the music. "What is most personal," Schneider affirms, "can also be what is most universal." Sky Blue is an intimate statement that speaks openly to everyone who appreciates exemplary music."

-- ALL ABOUT JAZZ - Jack Bowers

"The disc [Sky Blue] is by far her most ambitious. It is also much more than your father's big band jazz dressed up with classical flourishes. It is integrated, orchestral, composed with specific musicians in mind and among the most arresting, accomplished music of the new century."

-- THE OTTAWA CITIZEN -- Doug Fischer

"Maria Schneider tells stories in music as well as great novelists tell them in words. On her new album, "Sky Blue," she puts together stories that speak with the clarity of Ernest Hemingway and the musical grace of Aaron Copland. It is touching without ever lapsing into tawdry sentiment. Accomplishing that in emotion is a feat. Doing it in music is a masterpiece. As is this album."

-- PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE -- Bob Karlovits
The 'Pretty' Road -- Ingrid Jensen (fluegelhorn & trpt with electronics)Listen!
Aires de Lando - Scott Robinson (clarinet)Listen!
Rich's Piece -- Rich Perry (tenor)Listen!
Cerulean Skies-Donny McCaslin (tnr) Gary Versace (acc) Charles Pillow (alt)Listen!
Sky Blue -- Steve Wilson (soprano)Listen!

STEVE WILSON - alto/soprano/clarinet/flute/alto flute
CHARLES PILLOW - alto/clarinet/piccolo/flute/alto flute/bass flute
RICH PERRY - tenor/flute
DONNY MCCASLIN - tenor/clarinet
SCOTT ROBINSON - baritone/clarinet/bass clarinet
TONY KADLECK - trumpet/flügelhorn
JASON CARDER - trumpet/flügelhorn
LAURIE FRINK - trumpet/flügelhorn
INGRID JENSEN - trumpet/flügelhorn
KEITH O'QUINN - trombone
RYAN KEBERLE - trombone
GEORGE FLYNN - bass trombone/contrabass trombone
BEN MONDER - guitar
GARY VERSACE - accordion on The Pretty Road, Aires de Lando and Cerulean Skies
LUCIANA SOUZA - voice on The Pretty Road and Cerulean Skies
GONZALO GRAU - cajon/palmas/percussion on Aires de Lando (right) and percussion on Cerulean Skies
JON WIKAN - cajon/palmas on Aires de Lando (left) and percussion on Rich's Piece and Cerulean Skies

Bird sounds on Cerulean Skies:

Rich Perry - Bird 1
Ingrid Jensen - Bird 2
Maria Schneider - Bird 3
Scott Robinson - Bird 4
Jason Carder - High Chirps
Pernell Saturnino - Variety of high twittering birds
Marshall Gilkes - One small twittering bird

The Thompson Fields – Maria Schneider Orchestra
WINTER MORNING WALKS – Winner of 3 GRAMMY Awards (vocal, engineering, classical composition)
Sky Blue (2007) (Grammy Award Winner for 'Best Instrumental Composition' -- 'Cerulean Skies')
Concert in the Garden (2nd Edition) (Grammy Award Winner for "Best Large Jazz Ensemble Recording")
Allegresse (2000)
Coming About (1996/2008)
Evanescence (1994)
Days of Wine and Roses--Live at the Jazz Standard (2000)