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Bebop Spoken There

Ethan Iverson: "I asked Bertha [Hope] if she ever used the word "contrafact" to describe the process of writing new tunes over old changes, and she replied, "Of course not. The only people who used that word went to a university to learn about jazz."" - (Jazz Times March 2020).

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Hudson Music: Lance's "Bebop Spoken Here" is one of the heaviest and most influential jazz blogs in the UK.

Rupert Burley (Dynamic Agency): "BSH just goes from strength to strength".

COFID- 19

In the current climate we are doing our best to keep everyone up to date. All gigs, as we all know, are off.

However, good old YouTube has plenty to offer both old and new to help us survive whilst housebound. Plus now is a good time to stock up on your CDs.

Also, keep an eye out for live streaming sessions.

Alternatively, you could do as they do in Italy and sing from your balcony.

Today

As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

CD Review: David Berger & The Sultans of Swing - Marlowe

(Review by Frank Griffith)

As one will notice at the foot of the page, Marlowe was released  in 2004 and is dedicated to continuing the legacy of Ellington's and Strayhorn's music.  A New York City based big band, The Sultans of Swing is led by composer/arranger, David Berger and this album consists of two suites, Windows on the World and  Marlowe, both of which demonstrate  Ellingtonian touches without being imitative in any way.  Berger's hues and colours are exemplified in his imaginative  voicings for the top flight reed section (including clarinets) as well as plunger mutes for the brass. His painterly use of melodic backings for solos (without getting in the way) are another one of the key influences of Duke and Billy.

Berger's pedigree is outstanding, having worked  with everyone from Mercer Ellington, Gunther Shuller, Thad Jones and Stan Getz to Wynton Marsalis. He was also the  first  musical director for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra from 1988 to 1994 having adapted or transcribed Ellington related works for them as well. The Sultans also presented Duke's Black, Brown  and Beige at the Moscow Conservatory on January 23, 2004, sixty one years after the piece's premiere at Carnegie Hall.

Windows on the World is (according to Berger) "about the World Trade Center disaster and the aftermath. When I wrote it, I had hoped that this terrible catastrophe would send  a message to the western world. Unfortunately, the message has  not been received, but  I still have hope."

Alto saxist, Jerry Dodgion's showcase on this piece pays a heartfelt tribute to Johnny Hodges as does the serpentine clarinet of Dan Block (Jimmy Hamilton) and the Gonsalvesian tenor sax of Mark Hynes.

Marlowe celebrates Philip Marlowe, novelist Raymond Chandler's private eye character. The composer explains that the piece was "more of a composite, peeling  away layer after layer and getting to the bottom only to find deep personal truth. Definitely not for the faint of heart".  "Marlowe" is a compelling musical incarnation- an impressionistic vision that would light  up on stage or screen.

The music of David Berger and his unique and outstanding ensemble have gone to great lengths to produce a great contemporary work of art. Hear its vital message.
Frank

David Berger (composer, arranger, conductor); Jerry Dodgion, Matt Hong, Dan Block, Mark Hynes, Jay Brandford (reeds); Bob Millikan, Brian Pareschi, Irv Grossman, Steven Bernstein (trumpet); Ryan Keberle, Pat Hallaran, Marshall Gilkes (trombone); George Flynn (Marlowe only, bass trombone); Doug Wamble (Marlowe suite only, guitar); Isaac Ben Ayala (piano); Dennis Irwin, bass; Jimmy Madison, drums; Aria Hendricks, vocal (on Heroes).

Released in 2004 on the Such Sweet Thunder label. Cat. no. - SST103.

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