A Portrait of Duke catches the spirit of the great master, Mr. Ellington. No small accomplishment. This is a band with a lively rhythm section, first-rate soloists, and horn/reed players who make music soulfully together.
This is a truly international band with members from the United States, the Netherlands (3), Belgium, Germany, and Australia. The extraordinary chemistry of this group likely has to do with old friends playing together, but also with this recording taking place directly after the band’s 1999 European tour. These musicians play with utter confidence and exquisite timing. A big dollop of credit should go to Frank Roberscheuten and Dan Barrett for their stylish septet arrangements.
The line-up of compositions is a mix of classic favorites and surprises while this band brings something new to each track - fresh Ellington! There are so many outstanding solo performances that it seems pointless to single out only a couple. The versatility of the players is also notable, with several of the musicians switching off on multiple instruments. Ultimately, the creativity of the players working as a unit is what lingers so deliciously. This is a delightful recording.
Track Listing: Take The A Train; Swing Pan Alley; I Didn
Personnel: Frank Robertscheuten, clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax; Dan Barrett, trombone, valve trombone, cornet; Tom Baker, cornet, trombone, tenor sax, alto sax; Joep Peters, baritone sax, alto sax, vocals; Onno de Bruijn, drums, maracas; Karel Algoed, bass; and Christian Hopkins, piano.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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