Tribute to a Generation: A Salute to the Big Bands

Tribute to a Generation: A Salute to the Big Bands

by Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks OrchestraSmithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra

CD

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Overview

The concept behind this record is commendable enough: 17 classics of big band swing, originally recorded between the late 1930s and mid-'40s, interpreted by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra in live performances recorded between 1992 and 1998. It does, however, beg an obvious question: wouldn't it be more exciting to hear a compilation of the original versions? The answer is a resounding yes, unless you're the kind of listener who just can't stand the lower fidelity of 1940s-era recordings, and prefers the much cleaner, modern sound of these tracks. That's not to discredit the abilities of the 17-piece big band that, in varying lineups, handles the material on this CD, usually with David N. Baker acting as conductor (Gunther Schuller assumes that position for a couple of selections). The program includes numerous standards from the repertoires of swing greats like Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, Artie Shaw, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Carter, including "Flying Home," "Take the 'A' Train," "Song of the Volga Boatman," "Begin the Beguine," and "Mission to Moscow." Although the orchestra does play original arrangements, these can't compare to the spontaneous verve of the original performances, as crackly and hissy as they might be. Robert Bamberger's excellent notes both lay out the historical/musical context of jazz in the World War II era and supply annotation on the origination of each song. But you can't escape the feeling that this is a band that serves a more valuable function as live standard-bearers of the style than as recording artists.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/25/2004
Label: Smithsonian Folkways
UPC: 0093074081723
catalogNumber: 40817
Rank: 189463

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra   Primary Artist
Bill Easley   Saxophone
Robin Eubanks   Trombone,Soloist
Dick Johnson   Saxophone,Soloist
Ken Peplowski   Saxophone,Soloist
Bill Pierce   Saxophone
Rufus Reid   Bass
Loren Schoenberg   Saxophone,Soloist
Joe Temperley   Saxophone
Joe Wilder   Trumpet,Soloist
Tony Reedus   Drums
Gary Smulyan   Saxophone,Soloist
Michael Weiss   Piano,Soloist
Britt Woodman   Trombone
Art Baron   Trombone
Keter Betts   Bass
Michael Bowie   Bass
Jay Brandford   Saxophone
Sam Burtis   Trombone,Soloist
Richard Centalonza   Saxophone,Soloist
James Chirillo   Guitar,Soloist
Greg Gisbert   Trumpet,Soloist
Victor Goines   Saxophone,Soloist
John Goldsby   Bass
Wycliffe Gordon   Trombone
Virgil Jones   Trumpet
Benny Powell   Trombone
Chuck Redd   Drums,Vibes,Soloist
Charles Russo   Saxophone
Gunther Schuller   Conductor
Peter Washington   Bass
Larry Wiseman   Trumpet
Brent Wallarab   Trombone,Soloist
Carl Atkins   Saxophone
Chris Royal   Trumpet
David Baker   Conductor
Russell Wilson   Piano,Soloist
Charles Ellison   Trumpet,Soloist
Art Dawkins   Saxophone
Charlie Young   Saxophone
David Steinmeyer   Trombone
Bill Holmes   Trombone
David N. Baker   Conductor

Technical Credits

Stephen Foster   Composer
George Gershwin   Composer
Benny Goodman   Composer
Lionel Hampton   Composer
Mel Powell   Composer
Artie Shaw   Composer
Sy Oliver   Arranger
Vincent Youmans   Composer
Harold Arlen   Composer
Arthur Siegel   Artwork
Benny Carter   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer
Bill Finegan   Arranger
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Gus Kahn   Composer
Teddy McRae   Composer
Cole Porter   Composer
Leo Robin   Composer
Billy Strayhorn   Composer
John Tyler   Engineer
Robert Bamberger   Annotation
DuBose Heyward   Composer
David Baker   Producer,Musical Director,Artistic Director
Ted Koehler   Composer
Neil Moret (Chas. N. Daniels)   Composer
Lee Gaines   Composer
Clifford Grey   Composer
Sydney Robin   Composer
John Edward Hasse   Producer
Traditional   Composer
James K. Zimmerman   Producer,Executive Producer
Rob Bamberger   Liner Notes

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