Sunday , March 3 2024
Adam Meckler is a trumpet player, composer and educator from Minnesota whose new album of all original music is made for large jazz ensembles. It's thoughtful, soulful, joyful, melodic, and sometimes groove-oriented.

Music Review: The Adam Meckler Orchestra – ‘When The Clouds Look Like This’

When The Clouds Look Like This is the latest offering from the Adam Meckler Orchestra. Comprised of all original music written by Meckler, the arrangements are designed for large jazz ensembles merging surges of improvisation with structured passages. The compositions allow the musicians to exercise a freedom of expression that’s indigenous to the jazz milieu.

An active dialogue emerges in “Busta Jones” rousing the trombone’s rumbles, the trumpet’s hollers, and the saxophone’s breathy gusts. Piano keys traipse elegantly across the melodic progressions as the bass and drums chisel comfy swells encasing the arrangement. The fluttering swirls of the trumpets move smoothly as saxophones contour the piece, honing a tranquilizing atmosphere that consumes the listener. The woodwinds alternate between rising into billowing crescendos and descending into pacifying calms.

Adam MecklerEach number is the length of a suite, developing through several stages and forming full-bodied arrangements. “Sparkly Eyes” has a big band sound integrating horns, guitar, piano, bass, and drums. The number is a melting pot of improvised expressions surging with whimsical turns and impulses. The compositions show character, an ability to be animated and multi-dimensional like the title track which features vocals to enhance the shape of the melodic motifs suspended along a reclining rhythmic pattern. The bright hues of the horns landscaping “Open Your Eyes” create a sunny ambiance which transforms into the bustling shuffle of “Beautiful Beatrice,” providing the listener with a vivid picture of a busy city square.

When The Clouds Look Like This exhibits elaborate arrangements that develop naturally and move smoothly through the transitional phrases. Whimsical and orderly, the music is equal parts of both. Adam Meckler directs his orchestra with the dexterity of a seasoned performer and the flexible nature of a sage. Instinctively, he can navigate through a maze of instruments, coursing a melodic path that cushions the listener in comfort.


Trumpet – Adam Meckler, Tom Krochock, Sten Johnson, Cameron Kinghorn, Noah Ophoven-Baldwin; Trombone – Keith Hilson, Nick Syman, Mason Hemmer, Jenn Werner; Saxophone – Nelson Devereaux, David Hirsch, Ben Doherty, Shilad Sen, Angie Hirsch; Piano – Steven Hobert, Joe Strachan; Guitar – Trent Barspuul; Drums – Adrian Suarez, Peter Hennig; Bass – Graydon Peterson, Chris Bates


“Busta Jones,” “Skyline,” “Sparkly Eyes,” “When The Clouds Look Like This,” “Open Your Eyes,” “Beautiful Beatrice”

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About susanfrancesny

Born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in eastern Long Island.