This album of symphonic jazz crossover music features clarinetist Andy Miles, German-born and -trained despite the name, and the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra, from the heart of western Germany's steel-making region. Its chief virtue is that it occupies a sparsely settled stretch of territory in between the conventional jazz-flavored pops program and intellectual third-stream experiments, generally avoiding either extreme. Instead, what you get is a collection of music that takes Duke Ellington's orchestral jazz compositions as a point of departure, and the album opens with a sort of Ellington pastiche assembled by arrangers Matthias Grimminger and Henning Hagedorn. There are a few other items close to the pops end of the spectrum, including several from the pen of Leonard Bernstein, Leroy Anderson's popular Jazz Pizzicato, and the somewhat neglected Clarinet Concerto of Artie Shaw. For the rest of the program, however, Miles has brought together a stimulating and diverse group of pieces. Solfegietto is a little-known jazz arrangement of a Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach piano work by Argentine composer Jorge Calandrelli, a rather blank opposition of Vivaldi's Four Seasons music with jazz material, and, perhaps most interesting, Interchange with Different Movements, a composition by German clarinetist Rolf Kühn, which intricately weaves the classical and jazz elements into a double-clarinet concerto format. The playing of the orchestra under the direction of Jonathan Darlington is not as lively as that of Miles himself, but this album offers some new directions for the jazz/classical relationship.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim