102

Mark Masters Ensemble: Porgy & Bess Redefined!

By

Sign in to view read count
Well, they said it couldn't be done, but he did it. Arranger Mark Masters has breathed new and refreshing life into Gershwin's Porgy & Bess. Just when you thought Miles may have had the last word back in '61, Masters adds a touch of Mingus, a sprig of Kenton, and songs that you've heard a thousand times sound new and enticing.

As with any stage production, it sure helps to have the right cast, and Masters has a dandy. Supported by trombones and French horn, Billy Harper tears his tenor through "Summertime." Trombonist Dave Woodley evokes images of Jimmie Knepper with Mingus during the torrential rhythmic shifts. Gary Smulyan coaxes visceral emotions out of his baritone as he pleads through "I Loves You, Porgy," always backed up by flute and muted trumpets. Tim Hagans soars over delicate chordings on "A Woman Is a Sometime Thing." But the real tour-de-force is an unforgettable "It Ain't Necessarily So," with Hagans swaggering over the propulsive rhythm provided by Joe La Barbera. All throughout the session, Masters keeps the Evans-like voicings from being predictable by continuously shifting rhythms.

Masters has put together a band and a production with a lot of promise. Big band fans and Gershwin fans alike should definitely dig around for this one.


Track Listing: Introduction; Summertime; Woman Is a Sometime Thing; Gone, Gone, Gone; My Man's Gone Now; It Ain't Necessarily So; Here Comes De Honey; I Loves You, Porgy; Red Headed Woman; Clara, Clara; There's a Boat.

Personnel: Billy Harper: tenor saxophone; Tim Hagans, Les Lovitt, Tom Delibero, Louis Fasman: trumpet; Dave Woodley, Les Benedict: trombone; William Roper: tuba; Stephanie O'Keefe: French horn; John Riley: bassoon; Gary Smulyan: baritone saxophone; Cecilia Coleman: piano; Ray Drummond: bass; Joe La Barbera: drums; Don Shelton: flute, tenor saxophone; Bob Carr: bass clarinet.

Title: Porgy & Bess Redefined! | Year Released: 2005


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Déjà Vu CD/LP/Track Review Déjà Vu
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts CD/LP/Track Review Woody Guthrie - The Tribute Concerts
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Two in a Box CD/LP/Track Review Two in a Box
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Discussions CD/LP/Track Review Discussions
by Glenn Astarita
Published: September 20, 2017
Read Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 9, 2017
Read "Dancing Our Way To Death" CD/LP/Track Review Dancing Our Way To Death
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 16, 2016
Read "Carve" CD/LP/Track Review Carve
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "Songs We Like" CD/LP/Track Review Songs We Like
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 2, 2017
Read "As It Should Be: Ballads 2" CD/LP/Track Review As It Should Be: Ballads 2
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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