Composer-arranger and bandleader David Sanford has a capacious musical mind, one attuned to multiple genres and the joy of their aural collision. Keenly attuned not only to his rich African-American inheritance but also to the widest range of culture, he has been influenced by big-band classics and avant-jazz innovators as well as the sweep of the cinema, the harmonic explorations of classical modernists, the artful aggression of rock and the irresistible rhythms of funk. Recognized for his accomplishments in concert halls, on jazz stages and as an educator, Sanford was recently honored by the American Academy of Arts & Letters for 'outstanding artistic achievement.'
Sanford convened top jazz and contemporary-music players from across the U.S. in New York City to record his music as the David Sanford Big Band, with soloists that include trumpeter Brad Goode, saxophonist Anna Webber, and trombonist Mike Christianson. A key contributor to the sound and spirit of the group is Hugh Ragin, who is featured on trumpet and as composer and conductor of the album's centerpiece and title work, 'A Prayer For Lester Bowie,' which is an homage to the late, great trumpeter and co-founder of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. The rest of the album comprises six characteristically kaleidoscopic Sanford compositions 'inspired by everything from rollercoasters to film noir' plus his modern arrangement of 'Dizzy Atmosphere,' by one of his earliest jazz influences, Dizzy Gillespie. This is vibrant, exciting large ensemble music that sees no limits.