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Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The DIVA Jazz Orchestra: Special Kay!

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WOW! No, it is definitely not advisable to open a review with an unequivocal superlative (for one thing, it sort of gives the game away, doesn't it?). But on Special Kay!, its ninth impressive album in twenty-four years, DIVA--the gold standard among all-female big bands since its inception--really gives a commentator no reasonable choice. Simply put, this is a mind-blowing live performance at the Tannery Pond Community Center in North Creek, NY, that electrifies and satisfies from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

DIVA: A Swingin' Life

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As if being the premier all-female big band on the planet weren't enough, DIVA has enlisted the services of two purebred divas--Nancy Wilson and Marlena Shaw--to enrich its latest album, A Swingin' Life, recorded live at Pittsburgh's Manchester Craftsmen's Guild (November 2011) and Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center (September 2012). Wilson and Shaw are more than window dressing, giving their all on five of the album's eleven numbers. Wilson brings out the best in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Diva: A Swingin' Life

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Back in 1967, Buddy Rich was one of the headliners on a summer replacement television broadcast for “The Jackie Gleason Show." If I remember correctly, the show's theme, which Rich and the band did was “Away We Go." It was subsequently released on a Pacific Jazz record The New One. Why is it that the opening track on Diva's most recent recording A Swingin' Life reminds me of that recording? It's not because Sherrie Maricle is in the Buddy Rich ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Diva: A Swingin' Life

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What do you get when you have fifteen talented and swinging female jazz musicians in an orchestral setting? The answer, drummer Sherrie Maricle and the DIVA Jazz Orchestra offering A Swingin' Life as proof that hard-charging big band music is not the exclusivity of the male gender. Building upon the work of more than a dozen previous albums, DIVA presents music from the Great American Songbook and more, capturing eleven audacious tracks recorded live by Jazz at Lincoln Center at ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Johnny Mandel Featuring Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra: The Man and His Music: Johnny Mandel Conducts the Music of Mandel

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In May, 2010, legendary composer/arranger Johnny Mandel performed three evenings with the all-female DIVA Jazz Orchestra at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, immaculately preserved in this release. In this rare appearance in his native Manhattan, the Los Angeles-based Mandel returned decidedly to his big band roots, which included service in brass sections, more than five decades ago, with Jimmy Dorsey, Buddy Rich and Count Basie, amongst others. He also demonstrates that his musical genius remains undiminished, engaging in genial musical descriptions between ...

LIVE REVIEWS

The Diva Jazz Orchestra and Johnny Mandel at Dizzy's Club, NYC

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Diva Jazz Orchestra Dizzy's Club Coca Cola New York, New York May 26, 2010

While The Diva Jazz Orchestra often gets press that relates to their status as an all-female big band, gender is irrelevant when discussing their musical acumen. Drummer Sherrie Maricle and company have proven themselves time and time again-- with ample demonstrations of taste, talent and chops to spare--on recordings and in live settings. This particular set was part of a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The DIVA Jazz Trio: Never Never Land

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About the nicest compliment one can pay the DIVA Jazz Trio's debut recording, Never Never Land, is that the threesome's irrepressible enthusiasm and energy (not to mention their consonance and artistry) are reminiscent of the great Oscar Peterson's classic trio with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Ed Thigpen. Pianist Tomoko Ohno isn't Peterson, nor does she try to be, but she dwells in the same exalted realm, while bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Sherrie Maricle offer stalwart impressions of Brown ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Diva Jazz Trio: Never Never Land

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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 ...


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