Down Beat (12/97, pp.73-74) - 3 1/2 stars (out of 5) - "...give him a fair shake and listen. You may be glad you did....excitement is generated without grandiosity: Grusin and helpers put together and take apart sections intelligently..."
Personnel includes: Dave Grusin (piano); Jon Secada, Gloria Estefan, Jonathan Butler (vocals); Bill Evans (soprano & tenor saxophones); Jerry Dodgion (alto saxophone, flute, clarinet); Jerome Richardson (tenor saxophone, flute, alto flute, clarinet); Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone); Ronnie Cuber (baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet); Arturo Sandoval, Greg Gisbert (trumpet, flugelhorn); Byron Stripling (trumpet); Keith O'Quinn, Jim Pugh (tenor trombone); Dave Taylor (bass trombone); George Young (flute, piccolo); Jeff Clayton (flute, clarinet, oboe); Dave Valentin (flute); Lee Ritenour (guitar); John Patitucci (acoustic bass); Dave Weckl (drums); Sammy Figueroa (percussion).
Includes liner notes by Dave Grusin and Edward Gomez.
"America" was nominated for a 1998 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement.
Personnel: Dave Grusin (piano, keyboards, synthesizer); Lee Ritenour (guitar, acoustic guitar); Abe Appleman, Barry Finclair, Donna Tecco, Marti Sweet, John Pintavalle, Regis Iandiorio, Paul Peabody, Laura Seaton, Richard Sortomme, Jean Ingraham, Ann Leathers, Jan Mullen (violin); Sue Pray, Julien Barber, Mary Helen Ewing, Carol Landon (viola); Diane Barere, Richard Locker (cello); Jerome Richardson (flute, alto flute, clarinet, tenor saxophone); George Young (flute, piccolo); Jeff Clayton (flute, clarinet, oboe); Lawrence Feldman (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone); Dave Valentin (flute); Ronnie Cuber (clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone); Roger Rosenberg (bass clarinet, e flat clarinet, tenor saxophone, bass saxophone); Bill Evans (soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone); Greg Gisbert, Arturo Sandoval (trumpet, flugelhorn); Tony Kadleck, Byron Stripling (trumpet); Jeff Lang , John Clark , Bob Carlisle (French horn); David Taylor (tenor trombone, bass trombone); Jim Pugh , Keith O'Quinn, Birch Johnson (tenor trombone); John Patitucci (acoustic bass); Dave Weckl (drums); Sammy Figueroa (percussion); Darryl Tookes, Diva Gray, Joshua Tyler Crookham, Jill Dell'Abate, Karen Kamon, Hilary James , Kevin DiSimone, Guy Finley (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: John Wydrycs; Frank Filipetti.
Liner Note Author: Eddie Gomez .
Recording information: Chung King Studios, New York, NY (1997); Crescent Moon Studios, Miami, FL (1997); JB' (1997); Right Track Studios, New York, NY (1997); Starlight Studio (1997).
Photographer: Clay McBride.
Unknown Contributor Role: Elena Barere.
Arrangers: Dave Grusin; Don Sebesky; Michael Abene; Tom Scott.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of West Side Story on Broadway, Dave Grusin revived the score, giving its ten themes fresh arrangements that keep the original melodies in mind but add a stronger dose of jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms to the music. For the most rewarding recording of this music since Stan Kenton's powerful renditions of the early 1960s, Grusin utilized an all-star big band with strings. Among the key soloists are trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, Bill Evans (who takes several superlative soprano solos), Michael Brecker on tenor, baritonist Ronnie Cuber and flutist Dave Valentin (who is featured on a purposely cute rendition of "I Feel Pretty") plus the pianist/leader, who clearly loves the music. In addition, one song apiece features vocalists Jonathan Butler ("Maria"), Gloria Estefan and Jon Secada. Although one wishes that the singers were more jazz-oriented (or that the entire date were instrumental), the overall result is a very respectful yet creative reworking of the famous score. Highly recommended. ~ Scott Yanow
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