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Clark Terry: Porgy & Bess (2004)

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Clark Terry: Porgy & Bess How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

With the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, trumpeter Clark Terry interprets memorable selections from America's favorite jazz opera. These arias have long been a favorite of every influential jazz artist. Like Gil Evans and Miles Davis, conductor Jeff Lindberg and maestro Terry have come up with a winning formula. Using Evans' orchestral arrangements, they have recreated all the thrills.

At 83, Terry sounds better than ever. He's kept his full-textured tone in good shape, and continues to massage every note along the way. You can always count on him for quality.

With muted trumpet on "Summertime," Terry paints a somber picture. Gershwin's characters have plenty of room for mulling things over. It's a serious piece. "Buzzard Song," "My Man's Gone Now" and "I Loves You Porgy" reflect deep, emotional feelings. For that reason, the session remains slow and reflective.

Terry delivers his creative "mumbles" vocalese on the brief "Here Come de Honey Man" to inject a different character form into the program. His open trumpet arias, however, continue to capture the opera's main focus. The orchestra provides a superb accompaniment, as well as complementary soloists. Tuba, alto saxophone, and flugelhorn soloists join the veteran trumpeter in his quest to interpret this piece of history. Echoes of the Gil Evans Orchestra crop up everywhere.

Prayers, laments, and solemn chants characterize that part of the opera's storyline, which is interpreted here. Missing are the happier times. We can search through Clark Terry's discography, however, and find those happy times most anywhere. With this highly recommended project, he and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra have brought us a serious work of dramatic art and have left an indelible mark.

Track Listing: Buzzard Song; Bess, You is My Woman Now; Gone; Gone, Gone, Gone; Summertime; Bess, Oh Where's My Bess; Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus); Fisherman, Strawberry and Devil Crab; My Man's Gone Now; It Ain't Necessarily So; Here Come de Honey Man.

Personnel: Clark Terry- trumpet, flugelhorn, vocal on "Here Come de Honey Man;" Chicago Jazz Orchestra: Jeff Lindberg- conductor; John Wojciechowski- alto saxophone; Darlene Drew- alto flute, piccolo; Jerry DiMuzio- alto flute, bass clarinet; Kimberly Risinger- flute, bass flute; Larry Combs, Randy Salman- clarinet, bass clarinet; William Overton- bass clarinet; Greg Flint, Neil Kimel, Angela DeBoer, Christine Worthing- French horn; Danny Barber, Kirk Garrison, Doug Scharf, Art Davis, Art Hoyle, Brent Turney- trumpet; Scott Bentall, Tim Coffman, Andrew Baker- trombone; Michael Young- bass trombone; Daniel Anderson- tuba; Dennis Carroll, Rob Kassinger- bass; George Fludas- drums.

Record Label: A440 Music

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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