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 | Record Label: Unknown label

About Mark Masters
Articles | Calendar | Discography | Photos | More...

Tags

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related

Read Never More Here
Never More Here
By Dan McClenaghan
Read Lanzarote
Lanzarote
By Gareth Thompson
Read Strong Thing
Strong Thing
By Geannine Reid
Read Ocean in a Drop
Ocean in a Drop
By Geno Thackara