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Directed by drummer/composer/arranger and educator Wade Barnes, The Brooklyn Repertory Ensemble has been hard at work with their own recordings as well as spreading the word across the United States with concerts and clinics. The seventeen-member group consists of residents of Brooklyn, New York, and most of these musicians have deep roots insofar as experience and commitment are concerned. If Pragmatic Optimism is any indication of their talents, then there should be a bright future for this organization.
This album does begin in a deadening way with two vocals from Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch, as she first asks the musical questions posed by Bob Dylan in the opening verses of "Blowin' in the Wind," and then a Martin Luther King tribute composed by Roland Alexander and Arnold Jenkins ("King"). Over the course of these first thirteen minutes, the ensemble largely accompanies a soulful Cumberbatch.
However, beyond this point I was won over by the arrangements and the ensemble, which features a "bottom" coloration emphasizing the sound of mellophone, euphonium, tuba, bass trombone and baritone sax. It all becomes evident on the playing of "The Power of Feeling" and "The Power of Thought," featuring smartly played solos by Dale Turk on bass trombone, James Zollar on trumpet and John Nam, piano. Other soloists include metallic playing by guitarist Yoshiki Miura and sparkling vibes work from the often free jazzer Bill Ware.
Cumberbatch returns for a version of Oliver Nelson's "Stolen Moments," presenting the Mark Murphy lyrics. This time she is much more of a jazz singer, and during the long vocal break there are effective solos from Tom Olin on soprano sax and Hayes Greenfield on alto sax. There is one more vocal on "Body and Soul, with the closing "Thoughts of Love" featuring Zollar's trumpet.
Track Listing: Blowin' In the Wind; King; Passive Volition; The Power of Feeling; The Power of Thought; Stolen Moments; Big Little Sis; Little Big Sis; Body and Soul; Thoughts Of Love.
Personnel: Wade Barnes: drums, director; Tulivu-Donna Cumberbatch: vocals; James Zollar: trumpet; Vincent Chancey: french horn; Mark Taylor: mellophone; Kiane Zawadi: euphonium; Dale Turk: bass trombone; Ralph Hamperian: tuba; McDonald Payne: clarinet; Tom Olin: soprano saxophone; Hayes Greenfield: alto saxophone; Mario Escalera: tenor saxophone; Don Slatoff: baritone saxophone; William Ware, III: vibraphone; Yoshiki Miura: guitar; John Nam: piano; Ratzo Harris: bass.
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock
I love jazz because when I was a kid pop music was bland, plain, uneventful until one day I heard a tune on a juke box entitled Jump Red Jump By Tenor Saxophonist Red Prysock brother of Arthur Prysock. It was love at first sight . This was when Blues, Soul / Gospel Style Music was becoming popular amongst kids as well as hip adults and featured Ray Charles, Big Joe Turner and The Payola era DJ's such as Alan Freed. Not many people remember that Freed's Rock n Roll Band of the 1950's was The Count Basie Orchestra featuring the Guy Singer Tony Bennett (Anthony DiBenedetto) who grew up in Astoria, NYNY right next to my Home Town Jackson Heights NYNY.
I was first exposed to jazz when I heard Red Prysock, Sam The Man Taylor & groups like the Chord Cats recording of Shaboom! It made the Crew Cuts look LAME! Now Jazz, Blues, Soul, Gospel was pretty much joined at the hip back then and I learned that the tasteful Music was featured on The African American Radio Stations which led me to DJ's Like The Bruce, Jocko Henderson, Tommy Dr. Jive Smalls and eventually Symphony Sid Torin, China Valles and Len Pace. This all took place during my high school years and the following years in NYNY and South Florida. I actually flew to Copenhagen Denmark in 1961 to see Stan Getz, (One of my top 3 heroes in the Music Bird, Pres & Getz not necessarily in that order). Sadly Getz had already left town and snuck back into NYNY where he played Birdland (Undoubtedly without a cabaret card due to smack addiction.) No problem for me as I worked for Pan American Airways at the time and enjoyed a 90% Employee Discount.
I met Thelonious Monk, Stan Kenton, Warne Marsh, Lenny Tristano, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, Frank Foster, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among many others over the years.
The best show I ever attended was The Randall's Island Jazz Festival NYNY 1960. Monk & Edward Ellington Kennedy AKA Duke, starred among numerous others. I can not recall the entire Line Up but Monk brought along his Hat Collection which at the time contained I believe he told me 33 or 35 international Hats which he periodically changed often during his Solos. I have been unable to find that roster for that particular festival and since it was long ago I remember mostly Monk & Duke. Paul Gonsalvas played his legendary trademark twenty something chorus solo in between Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue which was outstanding.
The first jazz record I bought was Firstly, my Bro George was / is a Marine and he sent home his wax collection of LP's from Camp Pendleton CA before deploying to Okinawa in 1956 I think. Bird, Getz, Mulligan & Baker, Erroll Garner, Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Jazz at Newport 1956 and many more. I fell in love with Bird, Getz and Jeru & Chet for openers. Pres to my mind takes the all time Tenor Award and Budo, Piano etc.! However I digress Getz Long Island Sound and every other Getz record that I could find that was 1957 by then and I snuck in to Birdland for the First of many times before I was 18 ( Legal drinking age back then) It wasn't until just after my 18th Birthday that I was carded much to the bouncers chagrin as he recognized me as having being an established customer by then.
My advice to new listeners: Listen to the Music and keep it in the forefront not the background. A Local Band Leader whose name escapes me once said to me Jerry you can make time for the chicks later the Music is in the now and is more important than chicks ever will be. He was correct!
Next see live performances and introduce yourself to the Players most of whom will be respectful. Some, however, are unapproachable such as when I saw Miles so many times but his obvious disdain for certain fans was evident and he always walked off the stage after soloing. (Eddie Jefferson sang words to So What that so indicated this)!