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Grant Stewart Plays The Music Of Duke Ellington And Billy Strayhorn

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 16, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Grant Stewart's first two Sharp Nine releases opened the ears of many jazz fans who were won over by his tremendous sound, technical facility and never-ending flow of musical ideas. These attributes remain fully on display as Stewart tackles the music of two of his favorite composers, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. From the lush boudoir rendering of Tonight I Shall Sleep to a warp speed interpretation of It Don't Mean A Thing, Stewart's treatment of these classic tunes is respectful of tradition even as he breathes new life into them. Sharing the solo spotlight is master pianist Tardo Hammer whose elegant lines and feathery touch serve as the perfect foil to Stewart's full-throated tenor.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 16, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sharp Nine
  • ASIN: B0025KN47Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,114 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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this cd is so amazing i got goose bumps from the first lush note ! first off the sound quality is so brilliant and rich my speakers are like whoa bro !!!! yeah ! so what we have here are prob the best & freshest practitioners of the greatest music ever written----playing to my ears/heart/soul the best most satisfying swinging music ever written..with all this ...is the out of this world brilliance a surprise ?? yes !! still yes !!!! why..because.....to hear something as classy as this as beautiful.its a kind of shock in the sense that u are immediately aware u are hearing something like u have never quite heard before-- a level that raises the bar on what u are experiencing..hearing.. an epiphany is what it is.a downright religious experience......the second tune on here I'm talking about specifically while listening to it now. grants rich tone and seemingly selfless purity of what hes playing and the smooth flowing expression of each note and phrase is so brilliant it literally takes yer breath away-- the song is so incredible on its own,, another welcoming part of grants brilliance is of course his impeccable choice of tunes...let alone the perfection of genius he imbues them w.technique sense of swing etc..which is an internal/integral part of everything he does. this song unwinds and i have to keep repeating it just to re experience what i cant believe i just heard...phrasing of such continued easy going richness words cant really describe it of course-- its like someone whispering the most beautiful thing u have ever heard right in yer ear right to yer heart in one flowing breath...this album is a whole new level of mastery ... i've had this whole album on repeat for hours now and find myself knocked out each time by what i am hearing.... .shocking in its singularity of perfection.....Read more ›
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One of the best recordings I have ever listened to. Feels he is playing right in front of you.
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Stewart is very good. I have the slightest issue with the pop quality of his playing and arrangements. After that, it's all good. It's a well-recorded album and mostly suits my purposes.
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Several years ago, Grant Stewart made his first recording for Sharp Nine on the Planet Jazz "In Orbit" CD. One of Stewart's strong and ear-catching solos was on Ellington's "Dual Highway." On that tune Stewart showed an affinity for Ellington's music which one sensed would lead to the present CD, Stewart's third as a leader for Sharp Nine.

For "Plays the Music of..." Grant Stewart has chosen eight gems from the vast Ellington/Strayhorn repertoire. Most of the tunes are well-known to jazz fans (with a couple of lesser played exceptions), but overall the music sounds very fresh. Stewart seems inspired by the musical material and puts his personal stamp on all these beautifully recorded performances. The program is very well-balanced, opening with a strong and swinging "Raincheck". "Tonight I Shall Sleep" and "The Star-Crossed Lovers" are on the ballad side of the ledger. "Angelica" starts out over a semi-bossa nova beat but soon turns into a straight-ahead swinger. "I Let A Song" and "Something to Live For" swing hard; "It Don't Mean A Thing" is a romp at a race horse tempo. The program closes with the easy swinging "Feeling of Jazz," which lives up to its title perfectly. The band on the date (Tardo Hammer on piano, Paul Gill on bass, and Joe Farnsworth on drums) is well known to Sharp Nine listeners and of course, to Stewart himself. The band really digs into these timeless Ellington/Strayhorn classics and accompanies Stewart perfectly.

Stewart's tenor sound has become quite personal, combining Rollins, Mobley, and even a touch of Paul Gonsalves. Stewart's sound is unlike the hard-edged sound of many of many modern tenor players. Instead, he has developed a full and rounded tone, with just a hint of breathiness that is most pleasing to the ear.
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