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Clark Terry: Porgy & Bess

Jim Santella By

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With the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, trumpeter Clark Terry interprets memorable selections from America's favorite jazz opera. These arias have long been a favorite of every influential jazz artist. Like Gil Evans and Miles Davis, conductor Jeff Lindberg and maestro Terry have come up with a winning formula. Using Evans' orchestral arrangements, they have recreated all the thrills.

At 83, Terry sounds better than ever. He's kept his full-textured tone in good shape, and continues to massage every note along the way. You can always count on him for quality.

With muted trumpet on "Summertime," Terry paints a somber picture. Gershwin's characters have plenty of room for mulling things over. It's a serious piece. "Buzzard Song," "My Man's Gone Now" and "I Loves You Porgy" reflect deep, emotional feelings. For that reason, the session remains slow and reflective.

Terry delivers his creative "mumbles" vocalese on the brief "Here Come de Honey Man" to inject a different character form into the program. His open trumpet arias, however, continue to capture the opera's main focus. The orchestra provides a superb accompaniment, as well as complementary soloists. Tuba, alto saxophone, and flugelhorn soloists join the veteran trumpeter in his quest to interpret this piece of history. Echoes of the Gil Evans Orchestra crop up everywhere.

Prayers, laments, and solemn chants characterize that part of the opera's storyline, which is interpreted here. Missing are the happier times. We can search through Clark Terry's discography, however, and find those happy times most anywhere. With this highly recommended project, he and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra have brought us a serious work of dramatic art and have left an indelible mark.


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

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