210

Clark Terry with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra: Porgy & Bess

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Clark Terry with the Chicago Jazz Orchestra: Porgy & Bess More than four decades ago, trumpeter Miles Davis collaborated with arranger Gil Evans to produce what many observers look upon as the definitive jazz version of George Gershwin's groundbreaking folk opera, Porgy and Bess. It takes a sturdy backbone, not to mention enormous talent, to reproduce and strive to enrich a classic, but into the breach have stepped veteran trumpeter Clark Terry and Jeff Lindberg's 25-member Chicago Jazz Orchestra to do precisely that.

All of the songs save one, Evans' "Gone," are from the Gershwin score, and all of the arrangements except "I Loves You, Porgy" were transcribed by Lindberg from the 1958 album by Davis/Evans. "Porgy" was arranged for this date by Charles Harrison III. The essential contrast between the two performances is provided by Terry, an 84-year-old master who makes no attempt to emulate Miles but places his own indelible stamp on every number. "There's a broad spectrum of emotions portrayed in Porgy and Bess," says Lindberg, "and I've always felt that Clark is one of the best soloists ever, in terms of expressing a wide range of emotions on his instrument."

My own view of Porgy and Bess may seem heretical, but I've never much cared for the opera or its score, which in spite of some memorable themes ("Summertime," "I Loves You, Porgy") is too self-conscious and lethargic for my taste. I've seen Porgy on a number of occasions and have remained largely unmoved. Having said that, there's no doubt that Terry and the CJO perform admirably, and those who appreciate the opera more than I—and who cherish the Davis/Evans partnership—shouldn't be displeased by this new version, which adheres closely to the design and temperament of that seminal work while adding Terry's singular voice (figuratively on most numbers, literally on "Here Come de Honey Man"). Clark Terry is a wonder, and it is his towering presence that lends the album its freshness and charisma.


Track Listing: Buzzard Song; Bess, You is My Woman Now; Gone; Gone, Gone, Gone; Summertime; Bess, Oh Where's My Bess; Prayer (Oh, Doctor Jesus); Fishermen, Strawberry and Devil's Crab; My Man's Gone Now; It Ain't Necessarily So; Here Come De Honey Man; I Loves You, Porgy; There's a Boat That's Leaving Soon for New York

Personnel: Clark Terry (solo trumpet, flugelhorn, vocal on "Here Come De Honey Man")
With the Chicago Jazz Orchestra: Jeff Lindberg (artistic director and conductor), John Wojciechowski (alto saxophone), Darlene Drew (alto flute, piccolo), Jerry DiMuzio (alto flute, bass clarinet), Kimberly Risinger (bass flute, flute), Larry Combs (b-flat clarinet, bass clarinet), William Overton (bass clarinet), Randy Salman (b-flat clarinet, bass clarinet), Greg Flint (French horn), Neil Kimel (French horn), Angela DeBoer (French horn), Christine Worthing (French horn replacing Neil Kimel on "Buzzard Song," "Summertime"), Danny Barber (trumpet), Kirk Garrison (trumpet, replaces Danny Barber on lead trumpet on "Buzzard Song"), Doug Scharf (trumpet), Art Davis (trumpet), Art Hoyle (trumpet), Brent Turney (trumpet, replaces Danny Barber on lead trumpet on "Summertime"), Scott Bentall (trombone), Tim Coffman (trombone), Andrew Baker (trombone), Michael Young (bass trombone), Daniel Anderson (tuba), Dennis Carroll (bass), Rob Kassinger (bass, replacing Dennis Carroll on "Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)"), George Fludas (drums)

Title: Porgy & Bess | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: A440 Music


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Masters In Bordeaux CD/LP/Track Review Masters In Bordeaux
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: August 19, 2017
Read On Parade In Parede CD/LP/Track Review On Parade In Parede
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2017
Read Good Merlin CD/LP/Track Review Good Merlin
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 19, 2017
Read I Believe In You CD/LP/Track Review I Believe In You
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 18, 2017
Read Morning Sun CD/LP/Track Review Morning Sun
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 18, 2017
Read The Conscience CD/LP/Track Review The Conscience
by John Sharpe
Published: August 18, 2017
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 5, 2017
Read "Live At Okuden" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Okuden
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "Fly Or Die" CD/LP/Track Review Fly Or Die
by John Sharpe
Published: July 10, 2017
Read "Pigs & Fairies" CD/LP/Track Review Pigs & Fairies
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Coalesce" CD/LP/Track Review Coalesce
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "DICE" CD/LP/Track Review DICE
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 11, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.