The jazz orchestrations of Maria Schneider are the musical equivalent of soufflés from a master chef. Gently penetrating and remarkably resourceful, they yield textures that are often light and feathery, but inlaid with a piquant array of swirling flavors that she resolves in a smooth, clean aftertaste.
Not surprisingly, the woman who creates them is physically delicate and amiable, but possessed of an indomitable will to hear the music in her head transformed into song.
At a time when full-scale orchestras across the country are awash in red ink, Schneider is bringing her entire 18-piece ensemble Tuesday and Wednesday into the intimate Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, where she attended the University of Minnesota after growing up in Windom, Minn.
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