I really only know the first part of this suite, the big band stuff.....but.
This music has been with me for a long time now and whenever I need some inspiration I listen to this. Of course it's Jazz in origin and not everyones 'cup of tea' by default but to me this is pure music and pure sound and one of the most controlled and devicive uses of instrumental writing I have heard, although similar to the Vienna Art Orchestra in that respect. So what do I mean by that? Well from the outset the instruments are used to perfection and draw on pure texture rather than using them to novel effect, so we don't get the normal honking baritones that you often hear in big band music, no stabbing or muted trumpets, no breathy sax or swing guitar. Each voice is tuned to perfection to create delicate speaking voices that sound so simple yet are infact very comlex in construction.
Amazing chordal voicing throughout, powerful use of dynamics and thoughful structure. We really have a suite of pieces here.
Okay, I really still haven't managed to express how this music makes me feel but that isn't easy. Uplifting and spiritual, I know sounds pretentious but when i listen to this music I really wouldn't rather be anywhere else.
I have two final comments. Wheeler makes excellent use of two of my favourite and misundertood instruments in jazz; the guitar and the voice. Most jazz musicians are rather disdainful of this pair, they are not often considered to be true 'jazz' instruments, well who cares. I get sick of hearing tenor sax quartets trying to sound like coltrane all the time anyway, but back to the music. Wheeler uses these two textures in the front line weaving and outlining chord voicings in such an intuitive and intelligent fashion you'll wonder why no one else uses them so effectively.
And my last point would be, why has no one else written a review of this music yet?