All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

94

Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts: 20th Anniversary

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Three brief observations: first, Houston's Booker T. Washington High School has one of the more impressive Jazz ensembles we've heard at that level; second, far too much of its three-disc 20th anniversary chronicle is given over to vocal groups and various smaller combos or else devoted to funky arrangements that haven't weathered the passage of time; and third, good as these young players are, they are easily overshadowed (in '86-87) by one of their own (and the school's best-known alumnus), trumpeter Roy Hargrove, for whom the rest of them are simply no match. (On such tunes as Miles Davis' "Tune Up," Bernard Ignor's "Everything Must Change" or his own composition, "O.T.H.," Hargrove improvises like no other high-school player I can recall.) A large number of the earlier tracks were lifted from LPs, which is apparent from the surface noise. Still, sound quality there is splendid when compared to some others (the last half-dozen tracks on Disc 2 and the first three on Disc 3, from '90-92, are especially harsh and displeasing to the ear). The last four numbers on the program, recorded in 1997 by the Lab Singers and not yet released, aren't (in my opinion) worth releasing anyway. There are a number of salutary moments on each disc, and to save time I'll point them out for you. Disc 1: "Angel Eyes" (despite some scratches and a tinny-sounding piano), "They Can't Take That Away from Me" (nice chart with one of the better vocals, by Tanya Jones), "Speak No Evil" (small combo), "Stella by Starlight" (featuring trombonist Joe Jackson), "Mann Oh Mann" (composed by the school's Jazz Studies director, Bart Marantz), "Milestones" (not well recorded, but swings nicely), "Everything Must Change" (Hargrove, flugelhorn). Disc 2: "Land of Make Believe" (another pleasing vocal, by Donessa Washington), "Matthew, Gift from the Lord," "Blue Trane," "O.T.H," "Tune Up" (chiefly for Hargrove's solos; sound quality is subpar), "Jeannine" (with the band rising above further recording woes). Disc 3: "Mood Swing" (Robert Searight, keyboards), Joe Henderson's "Recorda Me" (excellent unbilled tenor and piano, fine rhythm section), "That Jazz" (outstanding work by the keyboard ensemble and rhythm). And there you have it. An uneven smorgasbord of wildly varying quality, in both sound and performance, but for high-school musicians, not bad at all.

Track Listing: Disc 1: Bess, You Is My Woman; Breakin' Up Is Hard to Do; Angel Eyes; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; They Can't Take That Away from Me; Mack the Knife; Speak No Evil; Impressions; Stella by Starlight; Mann Oh Mann; Milestones; Ballad for Mom; Everything Must Change (72:00). Disc 2: Land of Make Believe; Matthew, Gift from the Lord; Birdland; Blue Trane; O.T.H.; Tune Up; Spain; A Night in Tunisia; Jeannine; Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars; Fly Me to the Moon; Lotus Blossom; Dindi (70:42). Disc 3: St. Louis Blues; Afro Blue; Golden Rule; Mood Swing; Too Darn Hot; Recorda Me; Sassy Samba; Route 66; Cotton Tail; Paper Towels; Starting Over; That Jazz; Walkin'/Respect; Movin' Up; Watch What Happens; BeBop (71:33).

Personnel: Various combinations of instrumentalists and vocalists from 1979-96.

Title: 20th Anniversary | Year Released: 1998

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Oscar Peterson Plays CD/LP/Track Review
Oscar Peterson Plays
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2018
Read State Of The Baritone Volume 2 CD/LP/Track Review
State Of The Baritone Volume 2
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one) CD/LP/Track Review
Listening To Pictures (Pentimento Volume one)
by Chris May
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Friends & Family CD/LP/Track Review
Friends & Family
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 23, 2018
Read Northern Migrations CD/LP/Track Review
Northern Migrations
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 22, 2018
Read Egregore CD/LP/Track Review
Egregore
by John Eyles
Published: April 22, 2018
Read "Loneliness Road" CD/LP/Track Review Loneliness Road
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 11, 2017
Read "Leading The British Invasion" CD/LP/Track Review Leading The British Invasion
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 30, 2017
Read "Absolutely Live II" CD/LP/Track Review Absolutely Live II
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "Morphometry" CD/LP/Track Review Morphometry
by Duncan Heining
Published: August 29, 2017
Read "Ultimate Hits" CD/LP/Track Review Ultimate Hits
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2017
Read "I Can See Clearly Now" CD/LP/Track Review I Can See Clearly Now
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 7, 2017