Sam Boshnack Quintet
Sam Boshnack – Trumpet, flugelhorn
Beth Fleenor – Clarinet, bass clarinet, voice
Dawn Clement – Piano, Wurlitzer, additional keyboards
Isaac Castillo – Acoustic bass
Max Wood – Drums, percussion
“Sam”, as it turns out, is Samantha Boshnack
, a Seattle-based trumpeter and composer who also leads a larger aggregation called the B’shnorkestra
. This is her first release with this group, all of whom were unknown to me, although Sam has evidently been on the Pacific Northwest scene for quite some time.
When I first listened to Exploding Syndrome, it seemed like a solid post-bop session, well played, but perhaps of a piece with a lot that’s being released these days. There was something that kept drawing me back, though, to listen again, and I’m glad I stuck with it, because first impressions proved to be deceiving.
First of all, the quality of the writing puts this one a notch above the rest. Boshnack’s compositions are able to effectively convey a mood, be it reflective or more agitated, and they don’t sound like abstract exercises. There are some subtle arranging touches as well; the front line of trumpet and clarinet/bass clarinet creates a rich texture, and there are times where distorted electric piano is laid on top of what sounds like prepared piano.
Through the first few tracks, this makes for a nice, perhaps somewhat muted approach, but things take an interesting left turn at the end of the CD, on the tracks Dormant, Exploding Syndrome and Ashcloud. Basically a suite within an album that could be heard as a suite, there’s an extra dose of energy and edge, topped off on the title track with vocalizations that sound like a ninja on crack. The piece ends with a rousing trumpet fanfare.
I’d like to hear more of the Sam Boshnack that’s represented at the end of Exploding Syndrome
. Hopefully, she’ll continue to take some chances and develop her voice. The album is available through CD Baby
, Amazon and iTunes.
Here's a video clip of a live performance of the title track: