All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

201

The Ebony Big Band: The Music of Robert F. Graettinger: Live at the Paradiso

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Robert Graettinger, who made his mark as a composer / arranger for Stan Kenton’s “Innovations in Modern Music” Orchestra (1947-51), is remembered today by no more than a small circle of jazz aficionados who heard and appreciated such groundbreaking works as “City of Glass” and “Thermopylae,” among others.

Graettinger was only thirty-four when he succumbed to cancer in 1957, and the bulk of his scores, many of which were never recorded or even performed, languished in obscurity for decades until brought to light by Werner Herbers, founder and conductor of the Netherlands’ Ebony Big Band, which “is concerned with the performance of modern, unusual and adventurous music” with “attention devoted to the work of less well-known composers worthy of (re)discovery.” Few composers match that description more accurately than Robert Graettinger.

Some of Graettinger’s scores were found in the Jazz Studies department at the University of North Texas in Denton, which has housed Kenton’s musical estate (including more than 2,300 charts) since Stan’s death in 1979; others were found in the university library’s manuscript department. Some of the documents were in poor condition, and none had been completed (Werners inserted the missing pieces); with one exception, they were shorter works intended to fill space on 78rpm recordings of Kenton’s “normal” repertoire (including provocative treatments of several well-known standards).

The anomaly is the three-movement “Suite for String Trio and Wind Quartet,” which is performed here in a concert setting with eighteen other compositions and / or arrangements by Graettinger. Included are five untitled originals, one of which was apparently written for trombonist Frank Rosolino, another for trumpeter Conte Candoli. Ebony’s Martijn Sohier sits in for Rosolino, Jan Wessels for Candoli.

The revelation here is the accessibility of Graettinger’s arrangements, which are always sophisticated and demanding but by and large free of ostentation and dissonance. American-born and classically-trained vocalist Claron McFadden joins the band on four selections (“Loverman,” “Too Marvelous for Words,” “Fine & Dandy,” “Everything Happens to Me”) and is appropriately seductive, even though her gossamer soprano is often overwhelmed by Graettinger’s ear-splitting explosions of brass and reeds. It’s clear that the Ebony Band has an affinity for the composer’s unconventional temperament, having performed his music at the 1993 and ’99 Holland Festivals and issued a recording of one of those concerts, City of Glass (Channel Crossings 6394) with conductor Gunther Schuller.

This second album enables one to envision how the celebrated Stan Kenton Orchestra might have played Graettinger’s groundbreaking charts, although Stan presumably would have earmarked more space for some of his world-class soloists. There are no more than a handful of solos here, by Wessels, Sohier, tenor Maartin Ornstein and guitarist Wiek Hijmans — but Graettinger’s charts are so persuasive that one scarcely notices.

The Ebony Band deserves praise for shedding new light on a talented but sadly neglected composer / arranger who clearly was years ahead of his time and most of his contemporaries.

Contact: Channel Classics Records BV, Waaldijk 76, 4171 CG Herwijnen, the Netherlands. Web site, www.channel.nl; e-mail [email protected] U.S. distributor, P.O. Box 5642, Englewood, NJ 07631; phone 201-568-1544; fax 201-568-6146.


Track Listing: Moishoaro; Beachcomber; Afternoon; Loverman; I Only Have Eyes for You; Too Marvelous for Words; Irresistible You; Condolence; Untitled Original; Suite for String Trio and Wind Quartet; Transparency; Untitled Original; Autumn in New York; Fine & Dandy; I

Personnel: Leo van Oostrom, Michiel van Dijk, alto sax; Maarten Ornstein, David Kweksilber, tenor sax; Albert Beltman, baritone sax; Bob Stoel, Fred Molenaar, horn; Jelle Schouten, Peter Masseurs, Jan Wessels, Frits Damrow, Hans Alting, trumpet; Martijn Sohier, Harrie de Lange, Fans Theeuwen, Joan Reinders, Hansj

Title: The Music of Robert F. Graettinger: Live at the Paradiso | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Channel Crossings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Humanities CD/LP/Track Review
Humanities
by David A. Orthmann
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Wild Is The Wind CD/LP/Track Review
Wild Is The Wind
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review
Fairytales
by Gareth Thompson
Published: April 21, 2018
Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read "Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Long Time Gone/To Beat Or Not To Beat
by Doug Collette
Published: January 6, 2018
Read "Songbook Volume 1" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook Volume 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 12, 2017
Read "Making Other Arrangements" CD/LP/Track Review Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Of Light and Shadows" CD/LP/Track Review Of Light and Shadows
by Phillip Woolever
Published: December 9, 2017
Read "My Love" CD/LP/Track Review My Love
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 28, 2017
Read "Circle of Chimes" CD/LP/Track Review Circle of Chimes
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 27, 2017