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New England Jazz Ensemble: Peter and the Wolf

Read "Peter and the Wolf" reviewed by Jack Bowers

As the Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev composed the children's tale Peter and the Wolf to introduce classical music to a wider audience, so the world-class New England Jazz Ensemble has reimagined Prokofiev's beloved fantasy in jazz terms as a pathway to a greater awareness of its singular style of music. The redesigned suite, which encompasses almost thirty-four minutes on the NEJE's sixth CD, was arranged by pianist / music director Walt Gwardyak with narration by the well-known jazz singer Giacomo ...

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The New England Jazz Ensemble: Wishes You a Cookin' Christmas

Read "Wishes You a Cookin' Christmas" reviewed by Jack Bowers

So why, you may ask, is Bowers reviewing a Christmas album in February? That's a perceptive question, the answer to which is really quite simple: big band albums as impressive as this one by the superb New England Jazz Ensemble should be listened to and applauded not only during the holiday season but every day of the year.

The first half of the enterprise is devoted to well-known if not wholly traditional Christmas fare, the second to selections from Duke ...