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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Masters Ensemble: Our Metier

Read "Our Metier" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Mark Masters, an extraordinarily talented and perhaps undersung arranger of large ensembles jazz, has spent a good deal of artistic energy on crafting recordings that explore other people's compositions. His Capri Records output includes The Clifford Brown Project (2003), celebrating the sounds of the too-soon-gone trumpet legend; Porgy and Bess (2005), from the George Gershwin songbook; One Day With Lee (2004), a celebration of alto saxophonist Lee Konitz; Farewell Walter Dewey Redman (2008), a nod to another great sax man; ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Masters Ensemble: Porgy & Bess Redefined!

Read "Porgy & Bess Redefined!" reviewed by Jim Santella

Mark Masters is conductor and president of the American Jazz Institute in Pasadena, California. His projects honor the history of jazz while putting his personal stamp on each arrangement. Porgy & Bess Redefined! emerges fresh and alive, as Masters has seen fit to arrange the time-tested music for jazz orchestra with its themes cemented between soloists. Emotions rage and heartfelt empathy sidles up to center stage as the story unfolds.

How do you improve a piece of art ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Masters Ensemble: Porgy & Bess Redefined!

Read "Porgy & Bess Redefined!" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

This is the second outstanding treatment of Gershwin's famed folk opera, Porgy & Bess, within the past eight months. On the other recent version, Jeff Lindberg's Chicago Jazz Orchestra faithfully delivered the 1959 Gil Evans-Miles Davis arrangement with Clark Terry providing superlative trumpet interpretation. Mark Masters, who has spent the past few seasons artfully interpreting the compositions and arrangements of Jimmy Knepper, Clifford Brown, Lee Konitz, and most recently trombonist Grachan Moncur, now turns his attention to Porgy & Bess. ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Masters Ensemble: Porgy and Bess Redefined!

Read "Porgy and Bess Redefined!" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Gershwin's folk opera Porgy and Bess has been performed by numerous jazz artists, including Oscar Peterson, Joe Henderson, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Most famously, it was visited by Miles Davis in collaboration with Gil Evans in 1959; and most recently revisited by Clark Terry and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, with Terry putting his personal solo stamp on some reverent Evans charts.

Arranger/conductor Mark Masters of the American Jazz Institute has, for the past ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Masters Ensemble: Porgy & Bess Redefined!

Read "Porgy & Bess Redefined!" reviewed by John Kelman

More than any complete score of the 20th Century, Gershwin's Porgy and Bess has to be the one most covered by jazz artists. A short list of significant players who have tackled the cycle includes Hank Jones, Oscar Peterson, Ray Charles and Cleo Laine, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, and Joe Henderson. Arguably the most definitive arrangement of Gershwin's score is the one Gil Evans created for Miles Davis in the '50s.

So vivid was Evans' score, in fact, that ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Masters Ensemble: American Jazz Institute Presents The Clifford Brown Project

Read "American Jazz Institute Presents The Clifford Brown Project" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Having recently learned about the ingenuity of Mark Masters per his May 2004 release with Lee Konitz, One Day With Lee , I eagerly anticipated checking out Masters' 2003 album The Clifford Brown Project.

In order to examine the body of music associated with the later trumpeter, Masters devised a unique methodology to highlight Clifford Brown's solos as performed by the Ensemble, which consists of eleven musicians. Tim Hagans is given the opportunity to emulate Clifford Brown, ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Mark Masters Ensemble: One Day With Lee

Read "One Day With Lee" reviewed by Michael P. Gladstone

Alto sax legend Lee Konitz seems to gather more steam with each passing year. I saw him play twice in the 1970s and each performance was a revelation. He appeared with a piano-less trio taking it both inside and out before an appreciative undergraduate audience and later in the decade with his bracing nonet. In recent years he has recorded prolifically in duets, small combos and orchestras with musicians from all walks of jazz music.

Mark Masters, the ...


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