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...
Despite the successes of Benny Goodman, Andre Previn and most recently, Keith Jarrett and Brad Melhdau,I get nervous when jazz and classical musicians get together because they come from different bases. Jazz is swing, blues and improvisation. Classics is sticking to the written score. Classical conductors interpret Beethoven's Symphony No. 5, not improvise above its melody line. English conductor and the Birmingham Symphony put the concern to rest as they join with top rank jazz artists for more than an hour of dazzling performances of a cross section of Duke Ellington's music.
The album has both instrumentals and vocals. Of the former, several standout out, There's Clark Terry and Regina Carter on "That Doo-Wah-Thing", variations on "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing", with the members of the symphony swinging like mad. Bet they haven't that much fun in years. Terry, Bobby Watson, Joshua Redman. Joe Lovano and Regina Carter blast away on Ellington's signature, "Take the "A" Train". Individual members of the Symphony get a chance to show off as solists on a couple of cuts. John Barclay and Simon Gardner trumpets capture the blues on "Harlem".
But the gems of this album are the tracks when Lena Horne shows up. Turning back the clock, she engages the listener with as poignant "Something to Live" as you'll ever likely to hear with the Lovano tenor paying due respect to this doyen of song. Then she turns up the burners for "Maybe" supported by Watson's alto sax and an all star rhythm section of Geri Allen, Lewis Nash and Peter Washington. This rhythm section is on most tracks performing the seemingly impossible task of maintaining the jazz beat for each soloist without getting overwhelmed by the symphony. They pull it off without a hitch.
This is a fine album of Ellington/Billy Strayhorn music where the classical and jazz artist come together as one to honor the great composer. Recommended.
Track Listing: Take the "A" Train; You're the One; Sophisticated Lady; Harlem; Isfahan; Ad Lip on Nippon; That Doo-Wah Thing; Something to Live For; Come Sunday; Solitude in Transbluency; Maybe; Things Ain't What They Used to Be
Personnel: Clark Terry - Trumpet; Bobby Watson - Alto Sax; Joshua Redman, Joe Lovano - Tenor Sax; Regina Carter - Violin; Geri Allen, Mike Renzi - Piano; Lewis Nash - Drums; Peter Washington - Bass; Lena Horne - Vocals; The Birmingham Symphony Orch., Simon Rattle - Conductor
I love jazz because there are so many styles and ways to interpret the music--so much room for creativity.
I was first exposed to jazz at a very young age, listening to great artists such as Nat King Cole and Lena Horne.