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Jazz Canadiana, January 2000

Drawing upon the works of a number of English composers for his inspiration - Britten, Delius, Warlock, Elgar - Ross discovered that their "­Kharmony and melody of that period {came} very close to the modern jazz idiom". Re-orchestrating one of their compositions into a jazz context, Ross's Suite began to take shape, leaving room for improvisation by the musicians. The incorporation of a string ensemble and a featured soprano sax "­Kfitted the pastoral 'English' feel the composition should have" Ross suggests. The Event String Ensemble was made up of freelance players who had experienced in a variety of musical settings, and saxophonist Dave Liebman seemed a natural choice for the project. The Suite (1996-98) is in 7 parts, with an overture and 5 interludes (piano/bass/soprano/Band). It's a fascinating work, filled with multi-mood swings, changing textures, and colours, instrumental creativity. Liebman is outstanding in the lead role.

Derek Ansell
Jazz Journal, November 1999

An original and musically satisfying programme is on offer here and on the Naxos label which, for those primarily concerned with value for money, means long playing time and a low price tag. Fortunately, for the rest of us, it is also very good jazz throughout.

Glenn Astarita
All About Jazz, August 1999

"Florian Ross' concept work rather well, as the compositions are meaningful, melodic and taken as a whole the project emits an air of continuity and a uniform flow. Dave Liebman's brilliant soprano sax work is the major ingredient here. A saxophonist of lesser talents may have proved disastrous for this recording. Apparently, Ross' had Liebman in mind from the onset and thankfully, Liebman obliged. Suite For Soprano Sax and Strings Orchestra is a joyful listening experience and all involved should be commended for their efforts! Recommended. (Four stars)."

Richard Cook
The Wire, August 1999

" What's an expensive luxury like this - sax concerto with full orchestra - doing on a budget jazz label? It's a live recording, bought in and well worth it: soloist Dave Liebman delivers charming curlicues of sax over unremarkable but undeniably pretty and beguiling writing for the group (composer Ross plays piano too). It occasionally recalls Eberhard Weber's THE FOLLOWING MORNING, albeit somewhat livelier.

Richard S. Ginell

"It's not too often that a jazz-oriented composer takes an interest in 20th century English classical music, so this nearly hour-long suite by pianist/composer Florian Ross - ostensibly inspired by the Brits - is going to be of interest to Third Stream buffs. Yet the piece is not that audibly indebted to Ross's designated role models Benjamin Britten, Frederick Delius, Peter Warlock, Frank Bridge, or Edward Elgar. Rather, the primary focus is usually upon the suite's inspired soloist, Dave Liebman, whose soprano sax shines brilliantly throughout the project. Sometimes the music gets just a bit out there, particularly in the mild excursions into the twelve-tone universe of Part VI and free-jazz of Part VII. But it is mostly a very attractive score where the Event String Ensemble under Manfred Knaak is well-integrated with the excellent German rhythm section (Dietmar Fuhr, bass; Jochen Rckert, drums) in this live recording. Although the suite flows in a nearly seamless stream, the sections are presented out of their numerical order (the Roman numerals supposedly reflect only the chronological order of composition). Yet this is the only daffy thing about a lovely addition to the Third Stream repertoire which, at Naxos' super-bargain price, qualifies as a Best Buy." (* * * *, four out of four stars)

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