Artist: David Linx, Maria Joao & Brussels Jazz Orchestra
Album: A different Porgy & another Bess
Genre: Vocal Jazz, Big Band
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
- A red-headed woman
- A woman is a sometime thing
- I love you, Porgy
- Buzzard song
- My man is gone now
- Oh Lord, I'm on my way
- Clara, Clara, don't be downhearted
- Bess you are my woman now
- Oh, doctor Jesus
- I've got plenty of nothing
The French classical label Naive has made a successful foray into jazz with recordings like Mina Agossi's Red Eyes (2012); and Tania Maria's Tempo (2012). A Different Porgy and Another Bess is the first thematic big-band offering from the label. Drawing from the George Gershwin/DuBose Heyward opera, Porgy and Bess (1935), A Different Porgy highlights eleven vocal pieces from the book. The music performed by the Brussels Jazz Orchestra, under the direction Frank Vaganee, features David Linx in the role of Porgy and Maria Joao as Bess. The arrangements are bright and progressive, courtesy of a wide swath of people in and outside the band.
A portion of the eleven pieces chosen for recital are expected. "I Love You Porgy," "My Man is Gone Now," "I Got Plenty of Nothing" and "Summertime" are all present and accounted for. But there are also Lesser-heard songs here: "A Red-Headed Woman," "Oh Lord, I'm On My Way" and "Oh, Dr. Jesus" are included to great effect in breaking up preconceptions and expectations that might cloud a Porgy and Bess-based disc. That said, there is actually no danger in this simply being one more interpretation of an over-interpreted collection of songs; the songs' arrangers and the Brussels Jazz Orchestra see to that.
A first listen sounds like a wild ride in one of those hover-cars from Luc Besson's 1997 film, The Fifth Element. Songs that should be familiar sound about as foreign as they possibly can: think playing "The Maple Leaf Rag" backwards in the Star Wars (1977) bar scene. Well, maybe not that jarring, but certainly provocative. Subsequent listens bear out the relationships of these songs with those Gershwin penned. This is where the invention of arrangement and free spirit benefit the old book, making it new again. This, coupled with a crack and very big band, makes A Different Porgy and Another Bess a valuable contribution to understanding the evolution of jazz.
by C. Michael Bailey