Press

NEW YORK TIMES <br/> by Nate Chinen

NEW YORK TIMES
by Nate Chinen

There’s a grand naturalist compulsion in Maria Schneider’s writing for large ensemble, and it has led her toward a more potent expression of her art. “The Thompson Fields,” the first album since 2007 to feature her namesake orchestra, teems with observant references to the pastoral world: prairies, exotic bird plumage, the dark gyre of a funnel cloud, the flutter of monarch butterflies.

Ms. Schneider, a composer and orchestrator of extravagant insight, has made these kinds of connections for a while. And as a conceptual device, it’s not a new story in jazz: Duke Ellington set a precedent for capturing the rhythms of life that Wynton Marsalis has diligently adapted to his own uses. But Ms. Schneider has her own trademark way of using timbre and harmony to bring a tactile presence to the dimensions of sound — and more impressively, of applying the same tools to illuminate emotional terrain.

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Press quotes

The Thompson Fields:  “... this magnificent, nature-drunk masterpiece, one of the great jazz records period, not just one of the great recent jazz records.”

- THE BUFFALO NEWS – Jeff Simon

The Thompson Fields: ***** "...there is nobody more capable of harnessing emotions in music and projecting and preserving the beauty and power of the natural world in sound than Maria Schneider. She's demonstrated that time and again, and she does it once more on this awe-inspiring release."

- ALL ABOUT JAZZ – Dan Bilawsky

The Thompson Fields:  "This marriage of sounds, words and images is ultimately breathtaking, a testament not simply to the hipness of jazz but to the uplifting and sustaining powers of art."

- OTTAWA CITIZEN – Peter Hum

"The Thompson Fields breaks through to a new level. It's her most ambitious recording, and her most accomplished; it places her in the pantheon of big-band composer-leaders, just below Ellington, Strayhorn, and Gil Evans at his very best; it's a masterpiece"

- STEREOPHILE – Fred Kaplan

The Thompson Fields ***** (five stars)  "Her latest album, some 10 years in the making, shows just what a supple and powerful instrument a jazz orchestra can be."

- THE TELEGRAPH – Ivan Hewett

The Thompson Fields: ***** (five stars) "...a sound-world of rare eloquence ... the singularly most beautiful record I've heard this year."

- TheArtsDesk.com – Peter Quinn

"Maria Schneider is a national treasure."

- NPR

The Thompson Fields: "... a masterpiece ... Schneider's lovely themes are immediately accessible, but this is also music whose intricate arrangements reveal new discoveries on repeated listening."

- ASSOCIATED PRESS – Charlie Gans

"The Thompson Fields is a testament to the ever-evolving talent of Maria Schneider."

- JAZZHISTORYONLINE – Thomas Cunniffe

"The Thomson Fields may be her finest triumph in a stellar career as a jazz orchestra leader, composer/arranger and conceptualist. No one in jazz today, or at least in big band jazz, writes in such evocative fashion. Five stars - and then some."

- Ken Franckling's Jazz Notes – Ken Franckling

"The Maria Schneider Orchestra's ravishing new recording, The Thompson Fields, demonstrates her evolving vision for the evocative and deep nuances of sonic beauty that her music now radiates."

- KEVERNACULAR.COM – Kevin Lynch

The Thompson Fields (*****five stars)
"...when the artistic offerings competing for our entertainment dollars and attention are vast compared to the days of five television channels and a handful of records labels, one artist has risen—in terms of talent and the beauty and perfection of her recent output—to an Ellington-ian level: Composer/arranger Maria Schneider."

- ALL ABOUT JAZZ – Dan McClenaghan

"If you are able to cry over a piece of music. The Thompson Fields will make you cry."

- STEREOPHILE (Recording of the Month) – Thomas Conrad

"The Maria Schneider Orchestra: Led by Ms. Schneider, a composer and orchestrator of penetrating insight, this group has an ambitiously realized new album – "The Thompson Fields," its first release in eight years – that underscores its stature as the pre-eminent large ensemble of our time."

- THE NEW YORK TIMES - Nate Chinen

"The Thompson Fields" ***** (five-stars) "Heartening jazz suite that's too good to miss" 

- THE GUARDIAN – John Fordham