410

Clark Terry: Porgy & Bess

By

Sign in to view read count
Clark Terry: Porgy & Bess For the second time in a year, a major collaboration of Miles Davis-Gil Evans from the late 1950s has been repackaged with a new dressing. This venture is not another ho-hum guest shot from a jazz dignitary sitting in with an orchestra. Clark Terry lends not only his noted name but his distinctive talents to this project, and despite the many references to his advancing age and health problems in the media, he sounds robust on this recording at the age of 84.

Arranger and conductor Jeff Lindberg points out in the liners that while the Miles Davis original served to emphasize the despair of the Gershwin opera, Terry's work vastly opens the interpretation to a much wider range of emotional coloration, which is something that I had never considered over the past 45 years. Although uncredited in the liners, the Manhattan School of Music under the direction of Justin DiCiocicco and the participation of saxophonist Dave Liebman, released a similar project in 2003 which featured the original charts for the Davis/Evans album Sketches of Spain. So, in the course of twelve months, we've been treated to two examples of tampering with the past, and the result has been positive on both occasions. The sonics of the original Gil Evans arrangement was a state-of-the-art 1958 studio recording. Current technology places this recording on a much fuller plane and adds a richer and brighter sound.

There is an interesting personal connection between Clark Terry and Miles Davis. While he was a music student in St. Louis, Davis sought out Terry as an important influence. On this recording, Terry wisely makes no attempt to duplicate Miles's version of Porgy & Bess. His tone is a thing of beauty, whether on trumpet or flugelhorn, open or muted. Both of these trumpet legends had their own distinct and recognizable sound, and by the time the second track, "Bess, You Is My Woman Now," hits the ten second mark, you know that you're totally captivated by the updated arrangement. For the version of "Summertime," Terry also plays muted trumpet but not the patented Miles Harmon mute. This was the song that Jon Hendricks wrote a lyric for on the first Lambert, Hendricks & Ross Columbia album. Terry also gets a chance to briefly utilize his one-of-a-kind "Mumbles" vocal technique in "Here Come De Honey Man."

I am not enough of an archivist to match the 1958 original to this 2004 version and add up the pros and cons on an exact balance sheet. However, as a listener, I am pleased to report that the jury awards a positive decision to the work of Mssrs. Terry and Lindberg and the CJO for their heartfelt work.

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 Crab; My Man's Gone Now; It Ain't Necessarily So; Here Comes de Honey Man; I Loves you, Porgy; There's a Boat That's Leaving Soon for New York

Personnel: Clark Terry--trumpet, flugelhorn, vocals; Chicago Jazz Orchestra: Artistic Director and Conductor--Jeff Lindberg

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: A440 Music | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Speechless CD/LP/Track Review Speechless
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Holiday On Fire CD/LP/Track Review Holiday On Fire
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Calvins Toboggan CD/LP/Track Review Calvins Toboggan
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Silent Light CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017
Read PausaLive CD/LP/Track Review PausaLive
by Patrick Keyes
Published: April 27, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read "Pale White Shout" CD/LP/Track Review Pale White Shout
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 10, 2016
Read "Chronicles" CD/LP/Track Review Chronicles
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "Hank Mobley" CD/LP/Track Review Hank Mobley
by Greg Simmons
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 14, 2016
Read "Bekkenjordet" CD/LP/Track Review Bekkenjordet
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 15, 2017
Read "Music of Weather Report" CD/LP/Track Review Music of Weather Report
by John Ephland
Published: October 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!