Open World
(La Reserve)

Chad LB has assembled an album that epitomizes the sentiment of, “They make that look easy!” Nine crisp, bright-toned and shrewdly balanced original pieces offer a melodically colorful and incredibly approachable listening experience. Almost two dozen musicians, plus engineering and production staff, were involved in the project, and the resulting record is nothing short of a shining display of skillful collaboration.

Engineer Dave Darlington executes utter wizardry in his combining of the big band’s 21 parts — none of which were captured simultaneously, even from the players’ 23 different remote locations. The compositional direction and orchestrations of Open World are as vast as the album’s title.

This sentiment echoes throughout the album, despite the fact that the number of moving parts and the band’s total dynamic potential would seem to run the risk of some tonal homogeneity. The project clearly demonstrates the personnel’s amazing collective adaptability. To realize just how many countries, cultures and styles of musicianship are represented on Open World truly brings Chad LB’s international vision all together.

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August 2024
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