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All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

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  • David Fielding wrote on September 28, 2007 report

    This was part of Duke Ellington Jazz Festival here in DC. The show started with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. The last time I was at the Lincoln Theater was also a SJMO performance. I think it was the Mingus thing some years ago. This venue seems to have so few performances, I don't have any idea what they do with the place the rest of the time. Beautiful theater, underutilized. The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Orchestra led by Slide Hampton made the SMJO sound almost like a High School orchestra. That's a bit disrepectful of course because they were quite good. It's just that the All-Star Orchestra was SOOOO powerful and tight. Very precise and loud. I have seen a handful of higher profile big bands over the years and always enjoy the Count Basie Orchestra in a small place like Blues Alley here in DC. They had that kind of power and punch. I am always a bit wary of the tribute shows with a big band because it's so hard to get even great musicians to really bring it as part of a large group. But Slide really must have had them in the woodshed for a while.