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Plays the Music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn

Grant Stewart

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Album Review

Canadian Grant Stewart has long been a part of the New York jazz scene, and his big-toned tenor is well suited to the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Joined by pianist Tardo Hammer (frequently complimented by producer/label owner Marc Edelman as one of the city's best-kept secrets), bassist Paul Gill, and drummer Joe Farnsworth, Stewart explores both hits and less frequently explored songs from the vast repertoire of Ellington and Strayhorn, beginning with a brisk, effusive arrangement of "Raincheck," which incorporates the changes utilized by Sonny Rollins in his 1953 recording. Stewart's setting of "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" has a boppish tinge, as does the uptempo setting of "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)," in which the rhythm section fuels the fire of the leader. His hip arrangement of the Latin cooker "Angelica," originally recorded by Ellington as "The Purple Gazelle," swings like mad. The tenor saxophonist also masters ballads such as the overlooked "Tonight I Shall Sleep (With a Smile on My Face)" and the dreamy "The Star-Crossed Lovers," the latter long a feature for Ellington's alto saxophonist Johnny Hodges. This is easily one of Grant Stewart's best recordings.

Biography

Born: June 4, 1971 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Toronto native Grant Stewart is a hard-swinging tenor saxophonist steeped in the jazz tradition. Introduced to jazz by his part-time jazz guitarist father, Stewart grew up listening to such legendary saxophonists as Charlie Parker, Wardell Gray, and others. By his early teens, Stewart had already found performance experience with such artists as Pat La Barbera and Bob Mover, and at age 19 moved to New York City. Since that time, Stewart has performed with a bevy of well-known jazz musicians, including...
Full Bio
Plays the Music of Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn, Grant Stewart
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  • $7.92
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: May 26, 2009

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