Saturday, May 11, 2013

Jazz Orchestra concert May 11: Director's Notes by Dan Aldag

We're playing:

 "Besame Mucho", arranged by the band's guitarist, Dan Fair, with solos by Dan and our pianist, Alex Espe.

 "Scorpio", a movement from Mary Lou Williams' Zodiac Suite. The suite was written for piano trio, but Williams arranged this movement for the Duke Ellington Orchestra, who never recorded it. Features Nick Durant on clarinet.

 "Cry Me A River", arranged by Oded Lev-Ari for clarinetist Anat Cohen. We're having Jo Kuzelka sing in place of the clarinet solo.

 "Seven Steps To Heaven", a Victor Feldman tune made famous by Miles Davis. We're playing a new arrangement by Mike Tomaro to which we've added a vocal, with Jo singing Cassandra Wilson's lyric. Solos by trumpeter Andrew Henderson and tenor saxist Nick Durant.

"The Clown", a spoken word/music hybrid composed by Charles Mingus with text by the writer, raconteur and radio performer Jean Shepherd. Mingus's recording with Shepherd was done with a small group. When Mingus was asked to contribute something to a concert celebrating Duke Ellington in 1969, Mingus had pianist Jaki Byard arrange it for Ellington's band, and that's what we'll be playing, with Jo doing the spoken-word part.

"Superstition", the Stevie Wonder hit from the 1970s, was arranged by Miguel Zenon for the SFJazz Collective. We've adapted that arrangement for a 7-piece group for the full Jazz Orchestra to play.

 "The Flaming Sword", a piece written by Duke Ellington in the early 1940s as a tongue-in-cheek nod to the current craze for the conga line dance. (Picture Carmen Miranda with a line of people behind her, all with their hands on the hips of the person in front of them.)

"Milonga Loca", a composition by the late Argentinian composer Astor Piazolla, the creator of nuevo tango. Arranged for jazz orchestra by Fred Sturm. Features trombonists David Hersh and Josh Foster.

 "Horizon Reassembled" by Bobby Watson, composed by him when he reunited his group Horizon. Arranged for jazz orchestra by the composer.

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