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Album Review

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?

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The Rewrite of Spring, Darryl Brenzel
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