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The Wizard of Oz Suite

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Album Review

Veteran trombonist Phil Wilson arranged seven pieces from the film The Wizard of Oz and turned them into an engaging suite, accompanied by several great soloists and the NDR Big Band. "Over the Rainbow" is an obvious choice, since it has long since become a jazz standard; he gives it a loping treatment over a lush orchestral background. "Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead" receives a playful up-tempo arrangement featuring alto saxophonist Herb Geller, including a quick but recurring taste of Thelonious Monk's "Rhythm-A-Ning." His reworking of "If I Only Had a Brain" adds an interesting brass vamp underneath the soloists, while unaccompanied brass invite you to follow the yellow brick road during the opening of "We're Off to See the Wizard" in a delightful marchlike chart. Music lovers like Phil Wilson have known for a long time that these great songs aren't just for kids! Neither is Wilson a slouch with other standards. Brisk versions of "Perdido," "Oh, Lady Be Good," and "Woodchopper's Ball" are all exciting; while his mastery of ballads such as "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance With You" and "I Like the Sunrise" is readily apparent. Highly recommended.


Born: 19 January 1937 in Belmont, MA

Genre: Jazz

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

English singer/songwriter Phil Wilson got his start as a founding member of influential indie pop group the June Brides. The group formed in 1983 and released their first singles in 1984. Despite a mini-album (There Are Eight Million Stories) that topped the U.K. indie charts in 1985, the group was unable to sign a long-term deal with a label and ended up splitting in 1986. Wilson then began a solo career, signing with Creation records and releasing two singles for them in 1987. The Caff Corporation...
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The Wizard of Oz Suite, Phil Wilson
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