[Dixielandjazz] Porgy & Bess

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sun Oct 10 08:57:34 PDT 2004

October 9, 2004

To: Listings/Critics/Features
Press Contact: JIM EIGO, jazzpromo at earthlink.net

Larry wrote (polite snip)

"There is a case in point.  The original movie of "Porgy and Bess" was owned
by the Gershwin family who decided after his death that it was not a proper
forum for his music and now only authorize the full opera version.   A great
musical work is censored."

WELL, for Porgy & Bess fans, note the following NEW SEPT 2004 RELEASE:

Steve Barbone


Americana Music is extremely proud to announce the release of Porgy & Bess,
the extraordinary pairing of legendary trumpeter/flugelhornist Clark Terry
with Jeff Lindberg and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra.

True works of art are timeless, unique entities that stand alone, beyond
attempts to reinterpret, reproduce or even reconsider.  It could be argued
that the Gil Evans/Miles Davis classic interpretation of the George Gershwin
music opera Porgy & Bess has been viewed that way since its celebrated
release in 1958, because no major jazz figure has attempted to re-record the
musical suiteŠuntil now.  Less than 30 seconds into this new and ambitious
recording, as Clark Terry's vibrant tone rings over the familiar
orchestration on "Buzzard Song," one will immediately realize that this new
recording will be making new and important contributions to this legendary

In the world of film, remakes of classics tend to fail, despite the talents
of the new director, actors, or artists involved.  But in this remake, the
Gil Evans arrangements should be viewed more like classic theater, and Clark
Terry brings unique and soulful personality to the lead role as only Clark
Terry can.  What's particularly noteworthy about this project is that while
most revivals involve a younger artist bringing a fresh perspective to the
original, here we have a seasoned, respected master in Clark Terry bringing
his beloved style and vision to a work that has been permanently associated
with a young Miles Davis, to whom Terry was an important early influence.

In many ways, the two trumpet giants are a study in contrasts.  Miles was
enigmatic, intimidating, sometimes unapproachable, and always in the
forefront of establishing some new direction for modern music.  Clark, on
the other hand, is warm, inviting, charming, ebulliently witty and humorous,
and has often eschewed the limelight to make contributions to legendary
masters like Duke Ellington and Count Basie, perform as a sideman with a
veritable Who's Who of jazz history, and lead small groups of his own, and
for many years in partnership with trombone master Bob Brookmeyer.  What
both men have in common is that they each possess a totally distinctive
sound, immediately recognizable upon hearing them.  And, of course, their
improvisational abilities are as fine as any other trumpeter in jazz, past
or present, both expressing the entire tradition of the instrument in their

>From the opening strains on "Buzzard Song," Clark¹s trumpet shakes the
listener's emotional core, setting the stage for this passion play.  And
from the very first bars of that track, the orchestra demonstrates that it¹s
bringing all of its power, energy and focus to the music.  Daniel Anderson¹s
nimble and articulate tuba solo is also a highlight.

The remarkable interpretations of the classic ballads are also major
accomplishments here.  Terry's brilliant phrasing, warmth and lyricism bring
new perspectives on ancient wisdom in these familiar songs.  "Bess, You Is
My Woman Now" receives a moving rendition of the beautiful theme with
deliciously bent notes and a purity of tone.  "Gone, Gone, Gone's"
curtain-like orchestral density is penetrated by Terry's piercing trumpet
like rays of sunshine tearing through dark clouds.  His full-bodied solo
trumpet encourages the orchestra on "Bess, Oh Where's My Bess," then tears
through beautiful orchestral patterns, slipping into a short jaunty solo
before returning to the lovely melody.

On "My Man's Gone Now," Clark's trumpet communicates visceral emotion,
singing boldly over the evocative arrangement, but swinging joyously in a
brief solo.  A gorgeous rendition of the standard "I Loves You, Porgy" is
filled with a passion that is both elegant and earthy, marked by a fiery
solo by Clark and a fine brief alto interlude by John Wojciechowski.  But
the real gem of this album may be the least known of the opera¹s ballads,
"Fisherman, Strawberry and Devil Crab," where Clark delivers a smooth wave
of emotion from his instrument so beautifully, it can bring tears to your

The remaining tracks run the gamut of emotions and rhythmic variety.  The
oft-played "Summertime" displays another contrast with Miles' signature
Harmon mute style.  Clark's approach is bouncy, playful and infectiously
grooving, stoked by Evans¹ repetitive, driving horn lines.
"Prayer (Oh Doctor Jesus)" is another lesser known song from the original
suite where Clark truly shines and breaks new ground.  Here, his solo
delivers a bluesy, weary plea , backed by a darkly lustrous,
call-and-response brass choir that gradually builds in dense layers like an
approaching thunderstorm, culminating with an explosive crescendo.  The more
familiar ³It Ain¹t Necessarily So² has a somewhat gospel-ish feel in its
buoyant theme, with Clark¹s trumpet singing in a nasty groove.
The brief, colorful "Here Come De Honey Man" provides an exotic arrangement
with a somewhat Middle Eastern modality and features Clark's unique

A pair of up-tempo, richly swinging pieces are also included.  Jeff Lindberg
and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra bring verve and punch to Gil Evans¹ ³Gone,²
propelled by George Fludas¹ energetic drumming.  Clark's warmly effervescent
flugelhorn is featured here, joined by veteran Chicago brassman Art Hoyle in
a jubilant flugelhorn duet. "There's a Boat That's Leaving Soon for New
York" is a bouncy, infectiously rhythmic piece with Clark's trumpet dancing
through the boppish chart, ending the album on an upbeat note.

Not much can be said about Gil Evans' classic Porgy & Bess arrangements that
hasn't been said before. They are some of the finest orchestral scores in
the history of jazz and modern music.  However, Jeff Lindberg and the
Chicago Jazz Orchestra bring a freshness and richness to the music that
cannot be overlooked.  The CJO recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, and
the band features a deep roster of talented musicians committed to playing
and creating great music.  This world-class orchestra provides the perfect
backing for Clark Terry to deliver a glorious interpretation of the music.
This new CD promises to be a milestone recording that should enhance Clark
Terry¹s legendary status and bring the CJO the long-awaited recognition and
accolades it so richly deserves.

This CD is the first for new label Americana Music, and is manufactured and
distributed through A440 Music Group. For more information about this
recording and the artists, please visit:  www.americanamusic.biz,
www.A440musicgroup.com, www.clarkterry.com, www.chicagojazzorchestra.com

Media Contact:
Jim Eigo Jazz Promo Services 269 S Route 94 Warwick, NY 10990
T: 845-986-1677 / F: 845-986-1699 / Cell: 917-755-8960 / E-Mail:
jazzpromo at earthlink.net

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