The Re-(W)rite of Spring

The Re-(W)rite of Spring

by Darryl Brenzel
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The Re-(W)rite of Spring

A number of jazz arrangers have been drawn to major classical works to reshape them into something that retains the essence of the original works yet introduces variations and improvisation. The challenge is for the interpreter to create a compelling, memorable adaptation, not usually an easy task. Darryl Brenzel chose one of the most demanding works of the 20th century, Igor Stravinsky's ballet "The Rite of Spring," then added an additional twist, recording it live in front of an audience during its premiere performance in 2010 at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland, which took place about a month after he completed his work. The Baltimore musicians who make up the Mobtown Modern Big Band give their all throughout this concert, which successfully blends elements of its original score with Brenzel's new conception, though it stretches out a good deal longer than original ballet, clocking in at around 74 minutes. Anyone who is familiar with the orchestra setting of "The Rite of Spring" and has an open mind about reworking classical music will find much to enjoy in "The Re-(W)Rite of Spring." The solos are usually fairly brief, with more emphasis on the colorful ensembles. Unlike Stravinsky's premiere performance of "The Rite of Spring," with loud protests from the audience about this dissonant, groundbreaking music, Brenzel's audience obviously appreciates the mastery of the arranger's new take on the nearly century-old ballet. One question remains: will this be a one-time performance or something that future jazz orchestras perform in concert?

Product Details

Release Date: 07/31/2012
Label: Innova Records
UPC: 0726708682422
catalogNumber: 824
Rank: 162954

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Darryl Brenzel   Primary Artist,Conductor,Alto Saxophone
Jeff Lopez   Bass
Pat Shook   Tenor Saxophone
Josh Fox   Alto Saxophone
Brad Danhoe   Tenor Saxophone
Timothy Young   Piano
Paul White   Baritone Saxophone
Michael Bravin   Trombone
Andrew Layton   Soprano Saxophone
Stephen Lesche   Guitar
Jeff Adams   Trombone
Mobtown Modern Big Band   Band
Michael Johnston   Flugelhorn

Technical Credits

Igor Stravinsky   Original Material
Mark McLaughlin   Producer,Engineer
Darryl Brenzel   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
Chris Campbell   Management
Scott Vincent   Layout

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The Re-(W)rite of Spring 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I normally avoid musical mash-ups like the plague, especially classical-jazz hybrids, which to my ears always mesh about as well as oil and water. But I was immediately intrigued when I spotted this disc at my local record store. Stravinsky’s music has always appealed to me in part because of its minor-key intensity, unpredictable melodic and harmonic progression, rhythmic propulsion and those occasional ineffable passages that groove in a manner not dissimilar to jazz. “The Re-(W)rite of Spring,” I’m happy to say, more than met my expectations, thanks to the mad genius behind this project, Darryl Brenzel: alto saxophonist, director of the Mobtown Modern Big Band and arranger extraordinaire. Brenzel somehow managed to translate Stravinsky’s visionary ballet so that its idiosyncratic contours are clearly recognizable, yet emerge in music that is written — and performed — in a manner that is clearly jazz. Brenzel’s charts for this reinterpreted “Rite” are by turns harsh and aggressive, lyrical and intimate. More important, they conjure a consistent groove and create plenty of organic space for some hot solos by the Mobtown mob, notably Steve Lesche on guitar, Pat Shook on tenor sax and Michael Johnston on flugelhorn. Ultimately, this is less avant-garde classical than dark-toned big band jazz that would likely put a smile on Gil Evans’ face. It might even earn a hereafter nod from Stravinsky himself.