Maria Schneider at the Jazz Standard

I saw Maria Schneider’s Jazz Orchestra at the Jazz Standard last night, for at least the 12th time in as many years, and they—both she and the band—get more and more dazzling with each visit. As I noted a couple months back, with the release of her latest CD, Sky Blue (available only from or, Schneider’s compositions have grown both denser and airier—rich harmonies stacked on brisk, flowing melodies, swaying to rhythms at once buoyant, complex, and danceable. Her ballads are sweet and lovely without oozing into sentimentality. Her upbeat numbers are snappy without drifting into banality. In recent years, she’s been exploring Latin rhythms and styles—in Saturday night’s early set, she played compositions inspired by Brazil, Spain, and Peru, and it seemed absolutely authentic. Her band—17 members, many of whom have played with her for over 15 years—is drum-tight, and, perhaps because of this, the soloists soar more lyrically to more adventurous heights.

The Jazz Standard, where Schneider plays every Thanksgiving week (and other times, too—a one-nighter is scheduled for this January), has near-perfect acoustics for this orchestra. The sound has a warm bouquet; the dynamics swell without blaring; every detail is clear.

nunh's picture

Do you think/ believe repeated visits with a band/ singer (concerts, films, videos etc) enhance one's appreciation or possibly skews one's viewpoint toward their next effort (positive or negative? I don't mean you, the music critic but, you, the music lover.