Bill Laurance & The Untold Orchestra – Bloom (ENG review)

ACT music – Street date: April 26th 2024
Classique, Jazz
Bill Laurance & The Untold Orchestra – Bloom

This is an album you won’t hear on Bayou Blue Radio, and the reason is simple: it’s a contemporary classical music album too far removed from jazz. We have to be very careful because many jazz labels are now offering this kind of music, which would completely disrupt Bayou Blue Radio’s programming and take us too far from our listeners. However, this album may interest our readers, so we’ll briefly discuss it here. “Bloom” is the result of composer and pianist Bill Laurance’s work, offering us a distinctly modern orchestral work for piano with polished melodies. The only criticism is the excessive use of strings, which tends to overwhelm us after a while. Collaborating with multi-instrumentalist and Snarky Puppy bandmate Michael League, Laurance now partners with the 18-member string orchestra based in Manchester, The Untold Orchestra, creating a compellingly epic work. By combining Laurance’s classical sensibilities with slightly jazzy pop grooves and powerful orchestral synchronicity, Bloom traverses the full range of emotions and moods.

Listening to this album, from the first track, you quickly sense where the composer wants to take us. Those familiar with Bartok in music schools will find his approach reminiscent of Bartók and Ravel. However, the arrangements tire the ear due to their lack of lightness. The repeated bow strokes eventually tire the listener, even though the melodic line is interesting. This lack of finesse becomes exasperating.

Conceptually, Laurance explains that the album was largely inspired by his child’s ability to imagine and create other worlds: “Every decision we make can be traced back to our ability to imagine, and the limits of what we can achieve are only restricted by our ability to dream, as such. My child’s ability to draw back the curtain of reality and create a world of fantasy has sparked possibilities for myself, and with Bloom, I aim to transport the listener to those places, inspired throughout by the power of the natural world and our increasing dependence on it.”

But this doesn’t explain everything, and we can only hope that a future album with better management arrives soon. Even the chord progressions end up being too repetitive, using a rhythm more disturbing than perturbing, or should I say, abusing and abusing the same formulas from the first to the last track. Not everyone can be Anthony Branker, and it’s with albums like this that we realize it. Music students might find something in it, but it’s feared that this album won’t achieve more success in the classical world than in the jazz world. However, we’ll still classify it as “Good” out of respect for the compositional work, and we’ll continue to follow this composer’s work with interest because art is a long journey, and a disappointing album doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t be happy about the next one.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, April 24th 2024

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