Home Music The Henri Mancini Institute Orchestra: Jazz and the Philharmonic

The Henri Mancini Institute Orchestra: Jazz and the Philharmonic

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Jazz and the Philharmonic

Henry Mancini Orquestra - Jazz and the PhilharmonicA Philharmonic Orchestra featuring appearances by stellar jazz artists… some might suggest that it has been seen and heard before, beginning with Norman Granz’s JATP. But something of this magnitude that has brought together your artists in a Philharmonia together with the likes of vocalist Bobby McFerrin, pianists Chick Corea, Dave Grusin, trumpeter Terence Blanchard’, violinist Mark O’Connor and the classical singer Eric Owens and the dancer Desmond Richardson (in the accompanying DVD). Now that turned out to be something truly special; something absolutely memorable. And there are manifold reasons why, some of which are certainly not circumstantial. To begin with musical director and pianist Shelly Berg’s suggestion that this was taking the idiom of jazz to the very roots of classical music is a very credible one. After all Bach, Beethoven and Brahms… and all the classicists added great cadenzas—improvised passages—to the music they wrote. Thus the suggestion is that what is known as jazz music is all part of the cultural ethos of classical music as the idioms are related in that they not only use scales that are similar, but at some time both music idioms have been wholly or at least partially improvised. Not only that, much of jazz today is also written; programmatic in some if not almost all its compositions. Certainly if the music of Jazz and the Philharmonic is any indication this is not only at least partially true, but quite a successful marrying of the two, the musics being apart by only a few degrees of separation.

The second suggestion, and this is entirely because of this recording, is that the two idioms of music can be played together not only forming a successful programme, but a very memorable one at that. If the listener turns an ear to charts such as “Fugue in C Minor,” which features Terence Blanchard slanting the vaunted lines of his trumpet across the monumental baritone of Eric Owens; or to “Mountain Dance,” where Dave Grusin and Mark O’Connor rise to the occasion to suggest some sort of double-concerto with the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, a Philharmonic made up of young graduates, some of whom include Elizabeth Joy Roe, Terence Blanchard and Desmond Richardson… It is certainly something that is quite breathtaking and bodes well for further collisions between the two musics. One of the most memorable performances actually comes from Elizabeth Joy Roe, a pianist of overwhelming virtuosity, who also plays—as she does on “The Man I Love” and “Solfeggietto”—with exquisite expression and a keener sense of nuance; something that gives rise to extraordinary gesture and motivic brilliance, all coming together in a performance of utter genius. The other memorable performance comes from Terence Blanchard who turns his mastery of the trumpet into a devastatingly beautiful assault on the senses. Of course the stars also came out for this performance. Bobby McFerrin is something extraordinary; an artist of rare and unbridled genius who lights-up the stage no matter whether he is soloing or playing with an ensemble. Then there is Chick Corea who always lets it slip that he is classically orientated even when he plays jazz. And Eric Owens, singing with a deep sense of gravitas recalls to mind the great baritone Paul Robeson.

Finally there is Shelly Berg, a pianist of such grace and a musician and musical director of bountiful ideas and enthusiasm. Mr. Berg conducts with absolute understanding of score and plays the piano as if it is about to consume him; indeed does consume him musically speaking of course. This package is also memorable because the CD and the DVD—although the fare is similar—seem so different that it is also possible to enjoy each so separately. This is rare indeed and the reason is that the concert was treated with a different script; to produce a visual experience the likes of which could be enjoyed independently of the audio-only one. None of this would have been possible without the great producer Phil Ramone, who tragically died after the production, and to whom it has been rightfully dedicated, and Larry Rosen as well. Both of these fine gentlemen whom ought to be remembered as an integral part of this extraordinary and unforgettable musical experience.

Track List: CD: Autumn Leaves; Fugue in C Minor; Spanish Suite (Concierto de Aranjuez / Spain); Simple Gifts; Mountain Dance; Soloings 1; The Man I Love; Solfeggietto; Charade. DVD: Autumn Leaves; Fugue in C Minor; Spanish Suite; Soloings 1; Incandescent, Iridescent, Effervescent; Simple Gifts; Mountain Dance; Soloings 2 (featuring Desmond Richardson, dancer); Armando’s Rhumba; Charade; Solfeggietto; The Man I Love; 2001: A Space Odyssey – Also Sprach Zarathustra.

Personnel: Adam Diderrich: violin; Abigail Young: violin; Zachary Piper: violin; Karina Gallagher: violin; Arianne Urban: violin; James Reynolds: violin; Michael Newell: violin; Tomas Colik: violin; Jaya Varma: violin; Rebecca Mosloff: violin; Karen Lord-Powell: violin; Steffen Zeichner: violin; Patricia Jancova: violin; James Schlender: violin; Connor McCullough: violin; Spencer Robelen: violin; Michelle Mlacker: violin; Elie Jacobs: violin; Hailee Zeichner: violin; Susan Smiddy: violin; Robyn Stavisky: viola; Emily Jones: viola; Marcela Fernandez: viola; Laufren Miller: viola; Katheryn Severing: viola; Amanda Diaz: viola; Sean Magill: viola; Cecilia Huerta: cello; Joy Adams: cello; Sarah Gongaware: cello; Chia Li- Yu: cello; Monica Godbee: cello; Harrison Bryant: cello; Vienna Sa: cello; Kyle Laney: cello; Richard Sun: cello; Andrew Kronholz: cello; Jeffery Kopperman: double bass; Rachel Hershy: double bass; Yen-Ling Lin: double bass; Ben Tiberio: double bass; Phuttaraskka Kamnirdratana: harp; Neil Carson: alto saxophone; Kevin McKeown: alto saxophone; Mark Small: tenor saxophone; Alex Weitz: tenor saxophone; David Leon: baritone Saxophone; Chris Gagne: trombone; Javier Nero: trombone; Stephen Szabadi: trombone; Brian Powell: trombone; Ryan Chapman: trumpet; Chris Burbank: trumpet; Gilbert Paz: trumpet; Brian Powell: trumpet; Alison Hubbell: flute; Ernesto Fernandez: flute; Nikki Longhorne: flute; James Drayton: oboe: Rachel Lueck: oboe; Peter Bianca: clarinet; Ronnie Toca: clarinet; Isabel Thompson: clarinet; Iain Forgey: bassoon; Derek Smith: bassoon; Will Brubaker: bassoon; Connor Hailey: tuba; Karlyn Mason: percussion; Pedro Fernandez: percussion; Mark Coup: percussion; Mike Van Wort: percussion; Rhythm Section: Angela Versace: piano; Tim Jogo: guitar; Geoff Saunders: bass; Daniel Susnjar: drums; Conductor: Scott Flavin; Bobby McFerrin: vocals; Eric Owens: vocals; Chick Corea: piano; Dave Grusin: piano; Elizabeth Joy Roe: piano; Terence Blanchard: trumpet; Desmond Richardson: dance; Mark O’Connor: violin; Shelly Berg: piano, and musical direction.

Label: OKeh | Release date: February 2014

Website: okeh-records.com | Buy music on: amazon

About Jazz and the Philharmonic

JAZZ AND THE PHILHARMONIC is a one-of-a-kind concert project conceived by music producer Larry Rosen that merges Jazz and Classical Music featuring a star-studded roster of award-winning jazz and classical artists performing iconic compositions by legendary composers. The project involves GRAMMY® Award-winning artists: vocalist Bobby McFerrin, virtuoso pianist Chick Corea, pianist/composer Dave Grusin and trumpeter Terence Blanchard, who is also the artistic director for the Henry Mancini Institute.

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