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Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra

In 1990 the U.S. Congress, recognizing the importance of jazz in American culture, authorized the establishment of the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO) as the orchestra-in-residence at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Whether a 17-member big band, quartet, septet, or small group, the SJMO presents concerts featuring transcribed works, new arrangements, commissioned works and programs that illuminate the work of jazz masters who contributed to the development of American jazz and defined the music’s character.

Album

Bernstein Reimagined

Label: MCG Jazz
Released: 2021
Track listing: Times Square Ballet (from "On the Town"); Dream With Me (from "Peter Pan"); Great Lover (from "On the Town"); Lonely Town (from "On the Town"); Morning Sun (from "Trouble in Tahiti"); Waltz (from "Divertimento for Orchestra"); Meditation #1 (from "Mass"); Chichester Psalms I; Postlude (from "A Quiet Place"); Symphonic Suite (from "On The Waterfront").

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News: Recording

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra explores the vast, diverse repertoire of legendary composer Leonard Bernstein on stunning, revelatory new album

The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra explores the vast, diverse repertoire of legendary composer Leonard Bernstein on stunning, revelatory new album

Legendary composer Leonard Bernstein once called jazz “the ultimate common denominator of the American musical style.” The music made a profound impact on Bernstein’s work, not only in the more explicit “jazziness” of his work in musical theater, but throughout his “serious” orchestral music as well. Jazz artists in turn felt the influence of Bernstein’s innovations, ...

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Video

Times Square Ballet (from 'On the Town')

Featuring the music of Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra
Duration: 7:24

Legendary composer Leonard Bernstein once called jazz “the ultimate common denominator of the American musical style.” The music made a profound impact on Bernstein’s work, not only in the more explicit “jazziness” of his work in musical theater, but throughout his “serious” orchestral music as well. Jazz artists in turn felt the influence of Bernstein’s innovations, with interpretations of his work recorded by such icons as Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, Wes Montgomery, Wayne Shorter and countless others. With the stunning new album Bernstein Reimagined, the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra mines the composer’s vast repertoire for a vibrantly diverse new set of music that delves into pieces rarely if ever performed in a jazz context. Available now via MCG Jazz, this dazzling music was originally commissioned as part of the worldwide celebration of Bernstein’s centennial year in 2018.
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Track of the Day

Dream With Me

Album:
By
Label: MCG Jazz
Released: 2021
Duration: 6:03

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Article: Album Review

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra: Bernstein Reimagined

Read "Bernstein Reimagined" reviewed by Jack Bowers


This impressive anthology by the superb Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra is not so much Bernstein Reimagined as Bernstein Unleashed. The jazz component in Leonard Bernstein's memorable compositions for symphony orchestra, Broadway shows, films and even liturgical works always lay simmering just below the surface. As Bernstein is said to have confided to Duke Ellington: “Maybe that's ...

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Article: Album Review

Leigh Pilzer: Strunkin'

Read "Strunkin'" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


Leigh Pilzer is a baritone saxophonist from the Washington, DC area who has made a busy career for herself teaching, playing in various small groups and holding down the baritone chair in the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra and the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra. On this, her first CD as a leader, she ...

Album

Tribute to a Generation: A Salute to the Big Bands of the WWII Era

Label: Smithsonian Jazz
Released: 2004
Track listing: 1.Flying Home(3:17); 2.S'Wonderful(2:38); 3.Ill Wind(4:02); 4.Chloe(3:30); 5.Begin the Beguine(3:25); 6.Sepia Panorama(3:40); 7.Mission to Moscow(2.57); 8.Song of the Volga Boatmen(3:25); 9.Summertime(5:12); 10.Take the "A" Train(2:48); 11.Back Bay Boogie(4:38); 12.Cotton Tail(3:04); 13.Swanee River(3:13); 14.Rain Check(2:37); Back Bay Shuffle(3:15); 16.Just A-Settin' and A-Rockin'(3:46); 17.Hallelujah(2:56)


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