Saxophonist Brent Rose released his new album, The Unexpected Gift, last month. The ten-track release runs the gamut from contemporary to free jazz, with a couple of welcome stops along the way to play out some more traditional tunes.
This is an instrumentalist's album, particularly on the Latin-tinged 'Get It Right' and 'The Dilemma.' Rose enters into the free jazz realm on 'Polvo,' 'The Big Worm,' and 'Don't Be Scared' and gets it right each time. The tracks are unique, interesting, and highly engaging. 'Three Wishes' and 'Epico' slow it down with peaceful, languid interludes, and a version of 'Amazing Grace' comes out beautifully with interwoven sax and piano. ' The title track 'The Unexpected Gift,' features rich, beautiful vocals.
Rose settled in New Orleans for study at the University of New Orleans Master of Music program under Ed Petersen and Ellis Marsalis in the 1990s after a four-year stint with the U.S. Marine Corps Band. In 1998, he won the Ernest and Shirley Svenson Jazz Composition Award, the highest award conferred within the UNO Master of Music program. He now teaches and advises there, providing guidance to students in the Music Studies program, directing the rock band, and teaching courses on theory, jazz history, and saxophone.