Minnie Hill a Melbourne-based composer, arranger, and saxophonist recently launched her big band album The Remarkable Dave Brubeck to much appraise.
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Review from Sydney Morning Herald
Minnie Hill’s debut album, The Remarkable Dave Brubeck, pays tribute to a jazz icon whose career spanned more than six decades. At 20, Hill has just embarked on her own career but her achievements are already remarkable.
Assembling a 16-piece big band for a recording – in the midst of a pandemic, no less – is an impressive feat in itself. And the maturity and sophistication of Hill’s arrangements point to this young bandleader’s enormous talent.
Hill’s arrangements of Brubeck’s music are elaborate and inventive, encompassing a wide array of styles and moods – sometimes within a single tune. In the first set, the players were glued to their charts as they negotiated multiple time signatures and shifting Afro-Cuban rhythms on Blue Rondo a la Turk, and added punchy accents behind Flora Carbo’s deft alto sax solo on Fujiyama.
The band’s confidence and cohesion grew as the night progressed, echoed by Hill’s relaxed gestures as she conducted. Her clever pairing of two tunes pinned to irresistible basslines (Here Comes McBride and Unsquare Dance) featured syncopated handclaps and a joyful piano solo from Miro Lauritz, and the night’s final number – Lullaby de Mexico – built from a languid saunter to a dazzlingly ebullient samba.
The setlist was also sprinkled with a few original tunes by Hill. Enza exuded a quiet warmth, underlined by gorgeous solos from Gianni Marinucci (flugelhorn) and Lachlan Davidson (soprano sax), while Remarkable was built around an appealing melody and warmly expressive horn voicings. Remarkable indeed.