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The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: Beauty And The Beast feat. Bill Evans

Read "Beauty And The Beast feat. Bill Evans" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra, SNJO, under the leadership of saxophonist Tommy Smith, has proven itself to be one of the premier large ensemble outfits out there. They have released a series of uniformly excellent recording, beginning with 2002's Miles Ahead, featuring Ingrid Jensen, a remake of the Miles Davis/Gil Evans gem; an expansive take on Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue; a big tip of the hat to Duke Ellington with In the Spirit Of Duke, all of these on Spartacus ...

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Scottish National Jazz Orchestra/Makoto Ozone: Jeunehomme: Mozart Piano Concerto No. 9 K-271

Read "Jeunehomme: Mozart Piano Concerto No. 9 K-271" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

It's Mozart, so you expect genius to jump out of the speakers, and it does, on Jeunehomme: Mozart Piano Concerto No 9 K-271. And it's not just the genius of the composer, it's also a brilliant showcase for pianist Matsuko Ozone's arranging and conducting skills, and for the hearty magnificence of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was twenty-one years old when he wrote this piece, and it is often considered his first true masterpiece. Taking ...

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Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: American Adventure

Read "Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: American Adventure" reviewed by John Kelman

Sometimes an idea seems great on paper, but in execution doesn't exactly work out as planned. Other times, that same idea doesn't just look great, it actually exceeds already high expectations. When saxophonist Tommy Smith--almost single-handedly responsible for rebuilding a modern jazz scene in his home country of Scotland, where he returned after studying at Boston's Berklee College of Music in the 1980s and releasing a couple of well-regarded albums on Blue Note--brought his Scottish National Jazz Orchestra to the ...

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The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: In the Spirit of Duke

Read "In the Spirit of Duke" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Another tribute to bandleader/composer/pianist Duke Ellington? Is this necessary? Pulling from the archive a few recent nods to one of America's musical icons reveals 1997's elegant Count Plays Duke (Mama Records), by the Count Basie Orchestra; Don Sebesky's unabashedly gorgeous Joyful Noise (RCA Victor, 1999); and pianist Ted Howe's excellent trio affair, Ellington (Summit Records, 2005). Each album explores Ellington deeply, while offering its own idiosyncratic twists to the music.The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra--and let's put it up ...

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The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra: Miles Ahead

Read "Miles Ahead" reviewed by Jack Bowers

If you’ve ever wondered how those classic Miles Davis / Gil Evans collaborations from the late ’50s might have sounded had Miles laid aside the mute and played open trumpet, here’s a proximate likeness from Canadian trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, accompanied by the excellent Scottish National Jazz Orchestra. These are Evans’ groundbreaking arrangements, performed in concert with only one brief pause, between tracks five and six. Jensen, to her credit, makes no attempt to imitate Miles, but in keeping ...