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Monday Night Live At the Village Vanguard

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Album Review

The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra is in top form during these early 2008 live performances at its namesake nightclub, where its ancestor, The Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra held court on Monday night for years. Led by conductor/arranger Jim McNeely (with Michael Weiss playing piano on most tracks), the bulk of the material in this two-disc set consists of charts by the late Thad Jones. Weiss transcribed Jones' "Mean What You Say" (a top-notch arrangement written without a score), producing swinging results. Jones' scoring of pop star Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" still sounds very fresh, showcasing Dick Oatts on piccolo and soprano sax. Bob Brookmeyer, one of the founding members of the Jones-Lewis Orchestra, contributed the unusual setting of "St. Louis Blues," it begins with an ominous air before moving on to swing. McNeely's amusing Latin-flavored "Las Cucarachas Entron" was inspired in part by a Spanish-language marketing campaign for the pest control product The Roach Motel. Unfortunately, longtime bassist Dennis Irwin was near the end of his battle with cancer and unable to take part in these performances, though Phil Palombi spells his ill predecessor very well.

Customer Reviews

Be careful...

Of course, the band plays like crazy. Thad's arrangments (and, presumably, Mike Abene's) are terrific. Watch out, though, as a few of the tracks are named incorrectly. Best to preview before buying.

don't worry

Funny, I know them all, and it must be a production mistake....give it time, they'll correct it

How DO you rate this?

Do you rate the music on its own merits (which is great jazz), or do you rate what you get when you buy it? This is one area where iTunes falls down: If there is a mistake in the album contents, its been my experience that they NEVER correct it. Maybe they only correct errors in the top selling rock or pop albums...but jazz? Forget it. It is lack of attention to detail like this that led me to try the music store that's named after that big river in South America...and you know what? It works just fine.


Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Nobody bothered to tell Thad Jones and Mel Lewis that big-band jazz wasn’t viable in the modern era, because they started one of the most successful modern jazz orchestras from the ‘60s onward. The Jones/Lewis was a thriving concern until Jones’s 1979 departure, and then Lewis took the helm until his death in 1990. Pianist and composer Jim McNeely then became nominal chief/director. While they indeed keep the roaring sound of the Jones/Lewis...
Full Bio
Monday Night Live At the Village Vanguard, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra
View in iTunes
  • $19.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Jul 01, 2008

Customer Ratings