“…It’s a cause for celebration when anything uncommon gets to the Jazz Tent stage the way Rick Trolsen’s Neslorchestra did on Sunday afternoon.
The Neslorchestra is an outgrowth of Neslort, Trolsen’s new wave/prog/alternative jazz band, blown up to 17 pieces to add a big band dimension. They played pieces from The Primordial Epiphany Suite and as so often happens when any of these groups play Jazz Fest, it’s not clear why there’s such an allergy to them. Trolsen broadens his musical palate by putting the sound of a rock guitar, bass and drums in his lineup, but it’s not a rock show. The players know the gig and add textures and energy that make sense in Trolsen’s compositions.
I hear a Zappa influence in Trolsen’s Neslort music, and sometimes that translates to a fussiness I can take or leave. With the Neslorchestra and these compositions, that manifested as music that didn’t show any signs of strain melding genres. “The Tyrant’s Invitation,” for example, sounded like a soundtrack in search of a movie.
Trolsen pulled together players from across the musical spectrum to bring their distinctive sounds and approaches to his music. On Sunday, the result was a rich, ambitious set that sounded like something you’d expect to hear at a Jazz Fest in New Orleans.”