Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra: The Music of Paul Whiteman
From its formal stage show beginning "Louisiana" then musically spells out this state's name followed by Giordano singing the alphabet. Victor Goines high register clarinet cut right through giving this chestnut a new jazz life.
"The Stampede", the original Fletcher Henderson Orchestra version arranged by Don Redman to feature Louis Armstrong, it's Ron Westry's trombone strikingly loud that brings this one alive, Goines now on tenor emphasized by anticipating the right beat, Printup shined, the three clarinets unison and Sean Jones surprise ending foreshadowed Count Basie's band style.
Duke Ellington's theme song while at the New York Cotton Club in the '30s was "East St. Louis Toodle-O". Tonight we are lucky to have Joe Temperley, who played for Duke and whose mentor Harry Carney was the originator of the baritone chair from 1927 to 1974, opening on baritone with Goines, "Warmdaddy" Anderson and Walter Blanding -saxophones but it was Herlin Riley that made this go playing as if behind the warm baritone buzz.
"My Pretty Girl" a feature for bassist Carlos Henriquez opened by the ensemble with a Wilber clarinet solo a violin spot for Stein and an enthusiastic Ted Nash. "China Boy" an orchestra version of an overplayed Dixieland standard - why, because it sounds real, is easy to play because the melody flows in a relaxed manner allowing musicians lots of latitude to improvise - and they all do!
Ms. Daryl Sherman returns as James Chirillo accompanies her throughout the verse. She sings us a story "of days that used to be memories of Home", a faint violin establishes a nostalgic mood and Riley's brushes provide rhythm for "Sweet dreams to take me Home".
However, this is not the end for "Variety Stomp" a barn burner Fletcher Henderson composed intentionally to show off the band's ability to ensemble plus he included a bit for (himself) the pianist tonight's Aaron Goldberg.
"Mary, What is He Waiting For?" (Walter Donaldson) is a Matty Melnick arrangement in which Ryan Kisor gets to do a little Bix Biederbecke cornet, Giordano to sing and Walter Blanding to reprise saxophonist Frankie Trumbauer's unusually advanced sax style.
"Burnin' the Iceberg" by jazz's originator Jell Roll Morton is hot enough to melt us into toe tapping appreciators. This audience has been wooed by Wynton's charm, humor, well-written dialogue, some attributed to historian Phil Schaap and many well-healed patrons rise in appreciation to applaud Marsalis's introductions of the individual LCJO members and tonight's special guests. Vince Giordano's quest "to play simple, to make the front line cook" was definitely realized tonight.
In the future I would like to read more about the history and songs about to be performed in this program in place of twelve pages listing contributors, patrons or supporters in the PLAYBILL.