Remy LeBoeuf’s Assembly of Shadows

Architecture Of Storms
(Sound Spore Records)

Commenting on his recent recording Assembly Of Shadows, Remy Le Boeuf remarked on the value of metaphor, on how something can be created out of “the absence of something” — meaning shadows. It was a neat little intellectual conundrum from a thoughtful man who not only understands the many dimensions of music, but also knows that a good metaphor provides evasive cover. It can conceal or escape the confines of intentions, or lack thereof.

In Architecture Of Storms, Le Beouf seeks asylum in the emotional metaphor of bad weather as lost love, an idea expressed with poetic décor by lyricist Sara Pirkle and vocalist Julia Easterlin on the title track. But the metaphoric umbrella ends there.

This is not a suite of storms, but a procession of varied ensembles, hues and moods. They are agreeable in the moment, but don’t take root in memory. They showcase Le Bouef’s light, sober alto and other soloists in sumptuous, wall-to-wall orchestrations that are neither quite jazz nor classical. Depending on how you prefer to see it, Le Beouf suggests the way composers such as Stravinsky, Copeland and Gershwin borrowed from jazz in the ’20s to invigorate the concert hall. Or the way jazz musicians pushed away from their forms in the ’50s to borrow classical modes and create a Third Stream genre.

If Le Bouef’s thematic intentions remain inexact, his craft is impressive, varied and clever. The plus-size orchestra handles the material with total poise.