Since its beginnings in 1992, drummer Sherry Maricle's Diva Jazz Orchestra has evolved into one of the best big bands in the world. An all-female multicultural orchestra, it produces some of the most joyful big band music around and nurtures powerful and creative mainstream instrumentalists. A spinoff quintet, Five Play, showcases these instrumentalists in a more intimate setting but it is Diva's rhythm section that allows for continued creativity in a genre that can be sorely lacking in such. It is surprising then that Maricle, along with bassist Tomoko Ohno and pianist Noriko Ueda, had not yet recorded together as a trio. With Never Never Land, from the Diva Jazz Trio, that oversight has been wonderfully rectified.
In concert, the Jazz Orchestra combines both raw power and virtuosity for an awe-inspiring thrill ride. It often delights with inventive and up-tempo arrangements of familiar tunes and "If I Only Had a Brain" has become somewhat of a signature. Here, the trio gives Harold Arlen's Wizard of Oz classic a crisp interpretation that swings neatly thanks to Ueda's spotless bass work, Maricle's deft brushes and Ohno's clean runs.
The title cut is a very pretty excursion into innocence, Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" morphs from bluesy exotica into burning swing and back again and the musical dialectic between "I Could have Danced All Night" and "I Won't Dance" is cleverly exposed. Of the several show tunes in evidence, "My Favorite Things" stands out as a clinic in how to open up an overly familiar melody through exquisite touch and skilled arranging for a brand new listening experience. This trio is as elegant as the mother ship is powerful and converses not only more intimately but in ways that highlight the subtleties and underpinnings of these well-known melodies.
Track Listing: If I Only Had a Brain; Piano Nocturne #6 Op. 9, No. 2; Virgo; I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face; My Favorite Things; I Could Have Danced All Night/I Won't Dance Medley; Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'; I'm Walkin'; Never Never Land; Love For Sale.
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz
I was first exposed to Jazz when a couple of dear friends of mine turned me onto it around 1971. I was already into Progressive music, R n' B, Soul, Motown, Latin Rock and other styles that were a great ladder to Jazz.
Being a Musician myself, (Lead Guitar/Bass Guitar), I studied at the Dick Grove School of Music with Dick Grove, Jeff Richman and Lee Ritenour. This was around '84-'85. I started playing the Guitar in November 1967. Playing Guitar came quite naturally to me thank goodness. Though I spent hours upon hours practicing while my school buddies were doing Sports.
It was in the early '70s that I really got into Jazz, Jazz Rock, Jazz Fusion and World Music. Seeing Weather Report, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Larry Carlton, Steely Dan, John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, RTF, Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters, VSOP, Freddie Hubbard and so many, many more amazing artists opened my eyes to the beauty and eloquent nature of Jazz. I really love the brilliant ensemble playing that is in Jazz!!
When I play and write music, it blends so many style together. Many fans ask me why my playing sounds so jazzy. It's because I understand Blue Notes, the phrasing, the tonality, time signatures and more. I can also play Rock, Folk, Soul, R n' B and other styles too. I seem to gravitate more and more as I get older to a jazzier style. Currently I'm 62 years old. I have released 2 CDs world-wide. Working on my 3rd.
I also teach Guitar/Bass/Music Theory to my students. They range from 6 years old to much, much older. (I was hired by the City of Aurora, CO to teach ages 6-13 specifically). Currently I teach 41 children in 5 classes. Additionally another 7 private students.
My wife, Meesh, and I love Jazz dearly. It was one of the things that we share together!
Most of the people that I know today do not get jazz. I try to explain what to listen for, but many times the music of Jazz is a bit much for them. So be it.
In a nutshell, I live, breath and listen to Music 24/7. No TV except the Food Channel and Weather.
I love John Kelman's articles. They are so insightful and well-constructed!
Thank you all for doing what you do.