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Saxophonist Peter Weniger, hardly more than a blip on Jazz radar screens here in the States, has achieved a far more prominent stature in Germany and Europe, impressive enough to be invited in ’94 to record with the prestigious Netherlands Metropole Orchestra under director / arranger Rob Pronk. He’s in pretty good company, as American reedmen who’ve recorded with the MO include Zoot Sims, Nick Brignola, Bob Cooper, Bud Shank, Lew Tabackin, Lee Konitz and Ronnie Cuber — not to mention such other notables as trumpeters Bobby Shew, Clark Terry, Claudio Roditi, Ack van Rooyen and Rolf Ericson; trombonists Bob Brookmeyer, Andy Martin, Jiggs Whigham and Bart van Lier; Swiss alto saxophonist George Robert, Swedish tenor Leo Janssen, and composer / arrangers Bill Holman, Clare Fischer and Chuck Israels. Pronk wrote eight of the charts for Weniger’s album; the others are by Kenny Napper (Christopher Komeda’s “Rosemarie’s Baby”) and Henk Huizinga (Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood”). Weniger divides his time equally between tenor and soprano sax, and is outstanding on either one. He also composed the songs “Together Again,” “Dear Old Friend” and “Less Is Best” (the German translation of “less” is Weniger). The string–laden MO, meanwhile, is typically schizophrenic, sounding at times like a standard–issue big band, at others like a symphony orchestra that has stumbled into the wrong concert hall, but maestro Pronk cleverly blends all the ingredients to produce a flavorsome pastiche of stylish big–band Jazz. Weniger, at its center, displays excellent chops, a pleasing sound on tenor or soprano, and a stream of well–chosen ideas that never seems to slacken. Under Pronk’s able supervision, Weniger and the Metropole Orchestra form a championship–caliber team.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.