243

Dave Grusin: West Side Story

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Dave Grusin: West Side Story
It's been forty years already since West Side Story premiered on Broadway in New York City; since then, jazz luminaries such as Stan Kenton, Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson, and Dave Liebman have released recorded collections of Leonard Bernstein's exciting music from that score. Individual songs from the musical, such as "Somewhere," "Maria," and "Tonight," have become standards in everybody's book. For Dave Grusin's look at the familiar theater score, he's brought together a core rhythm section that includes John Patitucci on acoustic bass and Dave Weckl at the drum set, an orchestral string section, and a big band.

Featured soloists include Grusin on "The Jet Song," Gloria Estefan on "Tonight," Michael Brecker on "Something's Coming" and "Tonight," Jon Secada on "Somewhere," Lee Ritenour on "Cool," Jonathan Butler on "Maria," and both Bill Evans & Arturo Sandoval on "America." The string and big band arrangements were penned by Don Sebesky, Michael Abene, Tom Scott, and Grusin.

This is mainstream jazz. The ride cymbal, the walking bass, the big band arrangements, and the fiery solos leave a distinct trail; Sammy Figueroa's congas add an effect that recalls the story's romantic drama. Long a favorite of jazz fans, "The Jet Song" features Ronnie Cuber on baritone saxophone and flutist George Young on piccolo; together, and as soloists, the pair infuses a dramatic approach in consonance with the original theme's purpose. "Cool" features a loose, blues-based guitar solo from Ritenour, and fours from Patitucci, who converses well, using that deep acoustic bass timbre. One distinct highlight of the session is a piano-flute duo on "I Feel Pretty" by Grusin and Dave Valentin. Together, they weave a delicate baroque duo approach at both start and finish with a fired-up Latin rhythmic arrangement that places Valentin's flute atop the smaller ensemble's pulse. Bill Evans takes his soprano saxophone "outside" on "America;" the piece closes out the set appropriately with a vocal chorus, a Latin percussion interlude, Sandoval's fiery trumpet tirade, and the constant presence of Dave Grusin's piano trio backed by a big band.

Track Listing

Prologue; Something's Coming; The Jet Song; Maria; Cool; Tonight; I Feel Pretty; One Hand, One Heart; Somewhere; America.

Personnel

Dave Grusin: piano.

Album information

Title: West Side Story | Year Released: 1998 | Record Label: N2K Encoded Music

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Share The Wealth
Share The Wealth
The Nels Cline Singers
Read Spiracle
Spiracle
Mars Williams / Vasco Trilla
Read Speak Low II
Speak Low II
Lucia Cadotsch
Read Time OutTakes
Time OutTakes
The Dave Brubeck Quartet
Read Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Steve Masakowski and the Masakowski Family

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.