All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Big Band Caravan

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...

713

DIVA Jazz Orchestra / Paul Read Orchestra / Andy Farber and His Orchestra

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
DIVA Jazz Orchestra

Johnny Mandel: The Man and His Music

Arbors Jazz

2010

Note to NARAS members: please do not cast your vote for Best Big Band Album of 2011 without first having listened to Johnny Mandel: The Man and His Music, recorded in concert at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in Manhattan by the superlative DIVA Jazz Orchestra with guest vocalist Ann Hampton Callaway. Great as the band is on every number, Callaway almost steals the show on "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "Ain't Nobody's Business," both with DIVA, and Mandel's heart-rending "Where Do You Start," accompanying herself at the piano. What a fantastic singer she is! As icing on the cake, if indeed any were needed, the conductor for the occasion is none other than Johnny Mandel himself who provides the narrative framework for a number of his memorable songs including "Close Enough for Love," "Emily," the "Theme from M*A*S*H" and "The Shadow of Your Smile."

Emcee Todd Barkan introduces Mandel as "one of the greatest composers and arrangers that American music has ever been graced by," a sentiment that almost no one would impugn, as his remarkable body of work speaks clearly for itself. Besides the tunes already mentioned, DIVA quenches a pair of Mandel's incendiary jazz compositions, "Low Life" (written for the Count Basie Orchestra) and the classic "Not Really the Blues" (penned for Woody Herman's renowned Second Herd). Mandel also wrote the zesty "Cinnamon and Clove" along with two jazz-based excerpts, "Black Nightgown" and the main theme music, from the film "I Want to Live!" and arranged "What a Little Moonlight Can Do," "Ain't Nobody's Business" and drummer Tiny Kahn's propulsive "TNT." DIVA nails each one as handily as a carpenter assembling a rampart.

The orchestra's peerless leader, drummer Sherrie Maricle, is a pinnacle of strength and stability throughout, as are her section mates, pianist Tomoko Ohno, bassist Noriko Ueda and guitarists Sheryl Bailey or Dida Pelled. Brass and reeds are exemplary, even without the presence of a number of stalwarts who have moved on to bigger and better things since DIVA was founded in 1992. The album is dedicated to the late Stanley Kay, a onetime "assistant drummer" for the incomparable Buddy Rich who died shortly after it was recorded. It was Kay whose vision of an all-female band led to DIVA's formation and whose friendship with Mandel enabled the composer to become aware of DIVA's impressive talents and to record this extraordinary album with the orchestra.

Having mentioned the various sections, it should be noted that DIVA boasts a number of splendid soloists, most of whom are given at least one chance to shine. Among the standouts are tenors Janelle Reichman (whose clarinet enhances "Close Enough for Love") and Leigh Pilzer, trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis ("The Shadow of Your Smile"), alto Sharel Cassity ("Cinnamon and Clove"), baritone Nicki and Lisa Parrott (sitting in for Gerry Mulligan on "I Want to Live!"), Reichman and pianist Ohno ("Theme from M*A*S*H"). Eleven members of the band spread their wings and fly on "TNT"—Cassity, Noodhuis, Parrott, Reichman, trumpeters Tanya Darby, Jami Dauber and Christine Fawson, trombonists Deborah Weisz, Jennifer Krupa and Sara Jacovino, and alto Lynn Gruenwald. Bailey, Dauber, Reichman and Pilzer are out front on "Low Life," Reichman, Krupa and Pilzer on "Not Really the Blues." Among many highlights, that flag-waver stands above the rest, courtesy of Mandel's great writing and the spirit and power of the ensemble and soloists.

DIVA, which already has half a dozen impressive albums to its credit, has produced another unequivocal winner with Johnny Mandel: The Man and His Music. To be candid, having started with those basic ingredients and added the electrifying voice of Ann Hampton Callaway, the outcome was never in doubt.

Paul Read Orchestra

Arc-en-ciel

Addo Records

2010

With the Boss Brass gone and trombonist Dave McMurdo's orchestra not as active as it once was, composer / educator Paul Read has stepped forward to help temper Canada's big band void with Arc-en-ciel, the inaugural recording by the Paul Read Jazz Orchestra, whose sidemen number no less than half a dozen Boss Brass / McMurdo alumni. Read's compositions, while lyrical and good-natured, are by no means lacking in strength or substance. Every element is carefully planned, the charts snuggle or swing as needed, and the orchestra performs each one with alacrity and awareness.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Albert–Hobbs Big Band / Jeff Hamilton–DePaul University Jazz Ensemble / Steve Taylor Big Band Big Band Caravan
Albert–Hobbs Big Band / Jeff Hamilton–DePaul...
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 11, 2012
Read R3: Special Big Band / Gull Lake Jazz Orchestra / Empire Jazz Orchestra Big Band Caravan
R3: Special Big Band / Gull Lake Jazz Orchestra / Empire...
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 17, 2012
Read Bob Mintzer Big Band / Bob Wilber and the Tuxedo Big Band / Joe Chambers Moving Pictures Orchestra Big Band Caravan
Bob Mintzer Big Band / Bob Wilber and the Tuxedo Big Band /...
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 7, 2012
Read Kris Berg & the Metroplexity Big Band / Michael Treni Big Band / Millennium Jazz Orchestra Big Band Caravan
Kris Berg & the Metroplexity Big Band / Michael Treni...
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 9, 2012
Read Budman-Levy Orchestra / Jens Wendelboe Big Band / DiMartino-Osland Jazz Orchestra Big Band Caravan
Budman-Levy Orchestra / Jens Wendelboe Big Band /...
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 7, 2012
Read James Morrison / Tall & Small / Millennium Jazz Orchestra Big Band Caravan
James Morrison / Tall & Small / Millennium Jazz...
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 12, 2012
Read "Dave Douglas: From Revolution to Revelation" Catching Up With Dave Douglas: From Revolution to Revelation
by Ludovico Granvassu
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium" Live Reviews Gary Clark, Jr. and Jimmie Vaughan at the Iridium
by Mike Perciaccante
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "A Hitch In Time" Genius Guide to the Good Life A Hitch In Time
by Jeff Fitzgerald, Genius
Published: February 3, 2018
Read "Artacts 18 in St. Johann in Tirol, Austria" In Pictures Artacts 18 in St. Johann in Tirol, Austria
by Luciano Rossetti
Published: April 5, 2018
Read "Audioguide: New Protest Music" Mixcloud Audioguide: New Protest Music
by Emily Jones
Published: January 11, 2018
Read "Passion, Grace and Fire" The Vinyl Post Passion, Grace and Fire
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 15, 2017