Since co-founding The DIVA Jazz Orchestra with Stanley Kay (who served as manager/creative director until ceding the spot to trumpeter Jami Dauber) in 1992, Dr. Sherrie Maricle has consistently led one of the most swinging big bands. Over the years, the drummer has recruited many of the top female jazz instrumentalists in the US, with a number of the band's members having gone on to work as leaders, including trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, saxophonists Virginia Mayhew, Anat Cohen and Claire Daly, and pianists Janice Friedman and Roberta Piket, to name a few. In the mid 1990s, Maricle drew several members from DIVA to create the quintet Five Play, while sometimes expanding the group to a septet. Like the larger ensemble, Five Play has earned its share of critical acclaim.
Sherrie Maricle and The Diva Jazz Orchestra featuring Carmen Bradford
Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center
DIVA's latest CD was recorded over two nights last September at Dizzy's Club in Lincoln Center. The band devours John McNeil's swinging chart of Peggy Lee's "I Love Being Here With You," featuring Janelle Reichman's powerful tenor sax and Dauber's delicious muted trumpet. Tenorist Leigh Pilzer and flugelhornist Nadje Noordhuis share the spotlight in Scott Whitfield's lush setting of "Stars Fell on Alabama." The band adds some punch in their swaggering rendition of the pop song "Put a Little Love in Your Heart," hardly a standard, but it fits in just fine. Vocalist Carmen Bradford is added for four selections, highlighted by her soulful takes of "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "This Can't Be Love." The disc wraps with Ellen Rowe's imaginative scoring of Leonard Bernstein's "America," featuring Tomoko Ohno's driving piano, Lisa Parrott's gutsy baritone sax and Tanya Darby's sizzling trumpet.
What The World Needs Now
Maricle's third Five Play CD What The World Needs Now retains several musicians from the previous disc (trumpeter/flugelhornist/cornetist Dauber, pianist Ohno and bassist Noriko Ueda), with Janelle Reichman replacing Anat Cohen on tenor sax and clarinet. The songs include standards, time-tested jazz compositions and modern pop. "Moon Song" has fallen out of favor in recent years, though Dauber's adept muted cornet shows that this bittersweet ballad still shines decades after it was first popular. Ueda's bass is up front in the heartfelt treatment of Old Folks" and Reichman switches to clarinet for Benny Goodman's "Slipped Disc" in a tasty Brazilian arrangement by Anat Cohen, her predecessor in the band. Toshiko Akiyoshi's driving "Jo-House Blues" shows the influence of Mary Lou Williams, with Ohno setting the table and Dauber serving up a delicious muted solo. The drummer chose Burt Bacharach's "What The World Needs Now" as her opener and title track, though picking up the tempo turns it into a swinging chart where the band sounds much larger than a quintet in the ensemble passages. Helen Reddy's "I Am Woman" sounds like an unpromising jazz vehicle, but the punchy arrangement reveals its potential, highlighted by Reichman's fluid tenor solo.
Tracks and Personnel
Live From Jazz at Lincoln Center
Tracks: I Love Being Here With You; Andalucia; Stars Fell on Alabama; Sweet Georgia Brown; This Can't Be Love; Muddy Water; Rachel's Dream; Put a Little Love in Your Heart; Happy Talk; How Do You Keep the Music Playing; All of Me; TPN Blues; America.
Personnel: Sherrie Maricle: drums; Tomoko Ohno: piano; Noriko Ueda: bass; Sharel Cassity: alto sax; Erica Von Kleist: alto sax, soprano sax; Janelle Reichman: tenor sax, clarinet; Leigh Pilzer: tenor sax; Lisa Parrott: baritone sax; Tanya Darby: trumpet; Jami Dauber: trumpet, flugelhorn; Carol Morgan: trumept; Nadje Noordhuis: trumpet, flugelhorn; Deborah Weisz: trombone; Robynn Amy: trombone; Leslie Havens: bass trombone; Carmen Bradford: vocals.
What the World Needs Now
Tracks: What the World Needs Now Is Love; I Want To Be Happy; Moon Song; Groove Merchant; Slipped Disc; Cry Me a River; I Could Have Danced All Night; Old Folks; I Am Woman.
Personnel: Sherrie Maricle: drums; Jami Dauber: trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet; Janelle Reichman: tenor sax, clarinet; Tomoko Ohno: piano; Noriko Ueda: bass.