The anticipation was palpable as one of the world’s foremost jazz musicians walked onto the stage. Yet she didn’t hold an instrument or approach a microphone. In fact she didn’t make any sound at all. She merely held up a hand, and with a few gestures created exciting, complex and subtle music.
This mysteriously silent musician whom everyone had come to see was arguably the premiere big band composer and arranger of the last three decades – Maria Schneider. And her instrument? An eighteen-piece jazz orchestra, that she played like a puppet master, pulling all the strings to elicit finely-tuned dynamics and expressive solos.
Anastasia Slipper writing at theatrepress.com.au