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Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orchestra (Live)

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Album Review

Recorded live at the Village Vanguard, the Mel Lewis big band (which at the time was in the process of finding its own sound) performs arrangements by Bob Brookmeyer. While letting the band swing and leaving space for such soloists as flugelhornist Tom Harrell, altoist Dick Oatts, Joe Lovano's tenor, pianist Jim McNeely and altoist Kenny Garrett, Brookmeyer (who sits in on valve trombone during "Goodbye World") nevertheless constructs difficult charts that are more than a little inspired by modern classical music; this version of "My Funny Valentine" is quite eerie. Somehow the Mel Lewis Orchestra sounds relaxed on this rather complex music and the overall results are rewarding.


Born: 10 May 1929 in Buffalo, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Although he was generally reluctant to solo, Mel Lewis was considered one of the definitive big band drummers, a musician who was best at driving an orchestra, but could also play quite well with smaller units. He started playing professionally when he was 15 and worked with the big bands of Boyd Raeburn (1948), Alvino Rey, Ray Anthony, and Tex Beneke. Lewis gained a great deal of recognition in the jazz world for his work with Stan Kenton (1954-1957), making the large ensemble swing hard. In 1957,...
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Top Albums and Songs by Mel Lewis

Mel Lewis & the Jazz Orchestra (Live), Mel Lewis
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  • $13.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Bop
  • Released: 1982

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