by Willard Manus
another feel-good cd. CONVERGENCE is the work of Lunar Octet, a band of
multi-talented musicians from the Detroit area whose first album (Highway
Fun) was released in 1994. Now, twenty-five years later, the band
regrouped and, in a burst of joyous celebration and creativity, collaborated
on a new album which deserves the highest praise possible.
Featuring fourteen original tunes, CONVERGENCE mixes big-band jazz with
Latin and African beats. The resulting mambos, sambas and funk have a
distinctive sound, an infectious intensity and beauty.
Its no wonder that one jazz critic called Lunar Octet one
of the most innovative and dynamic jazz groups ever.
Lunar Octets principal composer is the sax-playing Steve Hiltner.
Aron Kaufman (congas, bongos) also composes for the band, as does clarinetist
Paul Vornhagen. The other musicians include Brandon Cooper (trumpet),
Sam Clark (guitar), Keaton Royer (piano), Jeff Dalton (bass), Jon Krosnick
(drums) and Olman Piedra (timbales). Their collective virtuosity makes
for memorable listening.