Thursday, August 6, 2015

Maria Schneider - The Thompson Fields

© -  Steven A. Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

"Beyond categorization...simply sublime ...You don't listen to CDs for the Maria Schneider Orchestra. You "experience" them."
"Maria Schneider is a national treasure."

"An extravagant show of her strengths: precise, expressive harmony; ribbons of diaphanous texture; a rhythmic momentum that doesn't feel propulsive so much as wind-borne."

"One of the great jazz records period, not just one of the great recent jazz records." THE BUFFALO NEWS
-Jeff Simon

"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."

"Beyond the searching solos and high virtuosity both on and off the paper, it's the love poured into The Thompson Fields that flows back out of the speakers and makes it such an unusually moving work of art. It captures Schneider's artistic vision unlike anything else in her catalogue."

With the release on April 21, 2015 of The Thompson Fields, composer, arranger and bandleader Maria Schneider celebrates a long-awaited reunion with her vaunted jazz orchestra, a homecoming nearly a decade in the making.  

Featuring eight new original works by the leader, The Thompson Fields makes brilliant use of Schneider's 18-piece jazz orchestra, a long-standing ensemble that spotlights such first rank players as Donny McCaslin, Rich Perry, Frank Kimbrough and Lage Lund.  The performances reveal an ever-deepening relationship between Schneider and her musicians, many of whom she has worked with over a quarter of a century.  The album follows a momentous year that found Schneider's recent album Winter Morning Walks garnering three wins in the classical category of the 2014 GRAMMY Awards, making her one of the rare musicians to win GRAMMYs in both the jazz and classical categories. The CD is powered by ArtistShare and available exclusively at

Ann Braithwaite of Braithwaite & Katz Communications and Amanda Bloom of Crossover Media sent along the following media release materials for Maria’s new project at the end of which you’ll find a video in which Maria explains how The Thompson Fields recording came about.

Maria Schneider's music has been hailed by critics as "evocative, majestic, magical, heart-stoppingly gorgeous, and beyond categorization." She and her orchestra became widely known starting in 1994 when they released their first recording, Evanescence.

With that recording, Schneider began to develop her personal way of writing for her 17-member collective, made up of many of the finest musicians in jazz today, tailoring her compositions to distinctly highlight the uniquely creative voices of the group. Subsequently, the Maria Schneider Orchestra has performed at festivals and concert halls worldwide. She herself has received numerous commissions and guest conducting invites, working with over 85 groups from over 30 countries spanning Europe, South America, Australia, Asia and North America.

Schneider's music blurs the lines between genres, and as a result, her long list of commissioners have become quite varied, stretching from the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, Monterey Jazz Festival, The American Dance Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Peter Sellars' New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna, Kronos Quartet, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Ojai Music Festival, to collaborating with David Bowie.

Schneider and her orchestra have a distinguished recording career with ten GRAMMY nominations and three GRAMMY awards, spanning both jazz and classical categories. Unique funding of projects has become a hallmark for Schneider through the trend-setting company, ArtistShare®. For these projects, she documents her creative process for participating fans, who "fan-fund" her recordings. Her album, Concert in the Garden (2004) became historic as the first recording to win a GRAMMY with Internet-only sales, and through crowdfunding. It blazed the "fan-funding" trail as ArtistShare's first release. Her albums, Concert in the Garden and Sky Blue were both named "Jazz Album of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association and DOWNBEAT Critics Poll, and received wide critical acclaim.  In 2012, her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, awarded Schneider an honorary doctorate, and in 2014, ASCAP awarded her their esteemed Concert Music Award.

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