by Brad Roberts
What a treat to get this CD. As a big fan of chamber ensemble music, I knew the minute the first song began that I was in for something special and unusual. But genre labels may prove difficult for the Brendan Eder Ensemble. Just as you think you may have pegged their sound, the next song forces you to redefine their boundaries.
Obviously Eder is classically trained with a broad musical knowledge, for the influences of the classics, jazz, and Broadway all are evident. Ravel, Debussy, Kurt Weill, Dizzy Gillespie, and Stephen Sondheim all came to mind instantly. Such an eclectic mix led me to want to find out more about Eder's background.
A graduate of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and a winner of the Ellis Prize for Composition in 2008, the Los Angeles native already has a few film scores for some independent and experimental films to his credit including Ari Aster's Portrait Series and Feeding Mr. Baldwin.
He plays the drums and something called the melodica, which is a free reed system hand held organ operated by blowing through a mouthpiece to produce a sound somewhere between an organ and a harmonica. Accompanists on the album play a range of wind instruments which adds up to a wind orchestra.