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New World Jazz


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Audio CD, September 15, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

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One of the activities for which Michael Tilson Thomas has an especially strong passion is cultivating the traditions of great ensemble playing within the next generation of young musicians. In his work with the New World Symphony--a training orchestra for gifted conservatory graduates from around the world, which he founded in 1987--MTT has clearly inherited the mantle of inspiring educator from Leonard Bernstein. He similarly works along the popular-classical divide so prevalent in American culture--not as a dead end but a source of creative energy.

This disc showcases the vitality of orchestral jazz in various guises as it straddles that divide, from the music of American composers and European émigrés to Hollywood film scores. One of the things MTT demonstrates with the selections here--eminently incarnated by the ensemble, which has a huge sense of fun with it--is the amazing malleability and assimilibility of jazz elements, whether it's the spiky rhythmic fragments that get blown to oversize in John Adams's Lollapalooza or the brashly outrageous brass yawpings of Bernstein's Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs (demonstrating the composer's own belief in a shared sensibility linking baroque improvisatory counterpoint with jazz). One of the real treats here is the account of Rhapsody in Blue in its first, seldom-heard version (as orchestrated by Ferde Grofé for a '20s jazz band). This is one of the freshest, most absorbingly joyful versions of the Gershwin available, full of colors you will have likely never encountered, with an exuberantly inventive MTT at the keyboard. The stardust saxophone sound in Rhapsody's slow dance tune alone is worth the price of admission. --Thomas May


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Lollapalooza 6:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Rhapsody in Blue17:24Album Only
listen  3. Prelude, Fugue and Riffs 8:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. La Creation du Monde17:54Album Only
listen  5. Ebony Concerto 9:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Ragtime 3:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. A Jazz Symphony11:53Album Only
listen  8. The Bad and the Beautiful (Theme) 3:47$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Orchestra: New World Symphony
  • Conductor: Michael Tilson Thomas
  • Composer: John Adams, George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Darius Milhaud, Igor Stravinsky, et al.
  • Audio CD (September 15, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B00000B9MO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,460 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 20, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Michael Tilson Thomas is one of the great conductors of this century, having proven himself over and over again with the London and San Francisco Symphonys, and now the New World Symphony, a Florida-based training orchestra. In this recording he also shows that he's very adept to conducting jazz, as was his mentor Leonard Bernstein. What comes on this CD is a fun look back on jazz-influenced works of this past century. It starts with a treat by John Adams called "Lollapalooza", which sounds like, if you've heard as much Adams as I have recently, well, John Adams. The Gershwin "Rhapsody in Blue" is given a well done, if maybe a little long (on the piano solos, not the orchestral bits), reading with MTT at the keys. Bernstein's all too little known "Prelude, Fugue, and Riffs", written for Woody Herman but premiered by Benny Goodman, shows a composer totally at home in his element. It's a great piece and Ted Calcara does a fantastic job on the clarinet solos. Paul Hindemith's "Ragtime" is probably the angriest ragtime you'll ever hear, but it is a delight to come across. As for the rest of the CD, some of the pieces are rather well known (Stravinsky's "Ebony Concerto" and Milhaud's "Creation") and some are not (Antheil's "Jazz Symphony"). It's a wonderful intro to a sort of symphonic jazz world, and Michael Tilson Thomas is the conductor to lead the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Noel A. Hodda on January 24, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This is a cd I enjoy playing but I am drawn to it less often than I would like to be. The performances are all good, if a little too clean and tidy, but my biggest gripe - and it isn't too big - is the VERY low volume of the recording. Whenever I play it I have to almost double the volume from any other cd to hear it. Other than that a good listen for those times when you want your orchestra to be a little bluer in sound and to swing a bit...and they do swing...a bit.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD is a wonderful collection of compositions by New World composers that are influenced by American Jazz. The pieces all feel modern. The performance quality is very high, as one might expect from Michael Tilson-Thomas.
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