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); Fisherman, Strawberry and Devil Crab; My Man's Gone Now; It Ain't Necessarily So; Here Come de Honey Man.
Personnel: Clark Terry- trumpet, flugelhorn, vocal on "Here Come de Honey Man;" Chicago Jazz Orchestra: Jeff Lindberg- conductor; John Wojciechowski- alto saxophone; Darlene Drew- alto flute, piccolo; Jerry DiMuzio- alto flute, bass clarinet; Kimberly Risinger- flute, bass flute; Larry Combs, Randy Salman- clarinet, bass clarinet; William Overton- bass clarinet; Greg Flint, Neil Kimel, Angela DeBoer, Christine Worthing- French horn; Danny Barber, Kirk Garrison, Doug Scharf, Art Davis, Art Hoyle, Brent Turney- trumpet; Scott Bentall, Tim Coffman, Andrew Baker- trombone; Michael Young- bass trombone; Daniel Anderson- tuba; Dennis Carroll, Rob Kassinger- bass; George Fludas- drums.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.