7 years ago

Volume 9 Issue 8 - May 2004

  • Text
  • Choir
  • Toronto
  • Choral
  • Singers
  • Theatre
  • Jazz
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From we get

From we get the gamut of moody Harmon-muted melodies. some dazzling technique on a Fiight of lhe Bumblebee-esque title track and his trad jazz roots even peek ~ut at one point. With lots of full out swinging, and whatever el~e js ·required of them, from. Enc Lewis on piano, Carlos Henriquez 00 ·bass and Al Jackson on drums, this disc is a full package. Not only be.cause of the music (all of the tunes are written by Marsalis) but the artwork and in particular Stanley Crouch's lyrical, lilting liner-notes are a real treat. ' ·· The . other famous Marsalis brother has also recent! y released a-disc, "The Steep Anthology"· I'd like to say we go from the sublime to the ridiculous but instead, I'll say we go from the sublime to the sublime of a different kind. From the straight-ahead artwork, to. th.e fac.­ tual liner notes to the music Itself, Branford has released a very different disc from his brother's. ·'The Steep Anthology''. is a collecti: .··;.­ ~ ;.

Ellington" - and two of Ellington's better-known themes as well as Billy Strayhorn's Take the A Train are included here. These three tracks feature the stellar trumpet/ tlugelhorn work of Clark Terry. Terry's solo work gives much appreciated buoyancy to these large versions of Duke's tunes. Two of Leonard Bernstein's works are included: the overture to "Wonderful Town" and Prelude, Fugue and Riffs. Igor Stravinsky's Ebony Concerto is included as well. Though written by a Russian, it certainly found inspiration in American jazz of the twenties and thirties. The work was composed for the instrumentation of a big band, specifically for that of Woody Herman. It's hard to imagine a dance orchestra of the swing era playing this piece. The writing is fascinatingly orchestral in approach. The highlight of this CD to my ears is the recording of Gershwin's Rhqpsody in Blue. There are times when I feel this piece has been overplayed, but it's refreshing to hear this new version. This one seems to owe more to the original version for dance orchestra. Hear- 1 ing prominent solo lines restored to saxophones gives Rhapsody back much of the blueness that seems to be lacking in many other recorded versions. If you like orchestral jazz, and . don't already have the material contained here on previous releases, "Americana" is worth picking up. Merlin Williams Somewhere - Songs of Leonard Bernstein Bill Charlap Trio Blue Note Records/EM! 94807 music has always seemed so intrinsically theatrical that it can make hard work of making jazz. With few exceptions, Lenny's tunes have not been embraced by improvisers as have those of Berlin, Rodgers, Porter and others who have written for Broadway. With a deft touch for finding the essence of the music, Charlap has selected material mostly . from "West Side Story" and "Wonderful Town", with two tracks from "On The Town" and one each from "Candide" and the ballet "Fancy Free". Charlap seems to have to work a bit to overcome an inherent yearning, or wistful quality, to find some real joy in Bernst~in's music, and he's most successful in Lucky To Be Me and It's Love. America is done, naturally enough considering its source, in a Latin way , with Kenny Washington's drums pushing forward, along with a nice ostinato figure from the bassist. The programme order is well considered: A Quiet Girl becomes a natural introduction to Big Stuff, and the lazy, bluesy interpretation of Ohio is a relief after the aggressive America. A solo piano version of Somewhere ends the CD with Charlap at his most Classical, playing the romantic melody mostly straight, examining the optimistic sadness of one of Bernstein's most memorable themes. Ted O'Reilly Concert Note: The Bill Charlap Trio with Peter Washington and Kenny Washington appears at the Top O'The Senator, from May 25 to 30. Sherry! - The Broadway Musical Cast Recording · EMl724353375706M Here's a trio that's really A Trio. Pianist/ilrranger Bill Charlap's name is up front, but his work with that of the (unrelated) Washingtons, Peter on bass and drummer Kenny, is the yeast that raises the music off the page. And to my ears, that's some lifting: composer Leonard Bernstein's MAY 1 - JUNE 7 2004 Thirty-seven years after the score was apparently "burnt with the set in New Jersey," Laurence Rosenthal and James Lipton's "Sherry!" has resurfaced in a luxurious Broadway cast recording on two CDs: ninety minutes of music,

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