Jazz Class Orchestra / Phil Woods

Porgy & Bess

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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow

The Italian Jazz Class Orchestra is led by saxophonist Gabriele Corneglio, who is also its chief arranger. On Porgy and Bess, the big band performs ten numbers from the George Gershwin classic. Unlike most other Porgy & Bess projects, there is no attempt to play the music as a suite or to stay in the 1930s style. Guest soloist Phil Woods is on half of the selections, and he feels free to quote from Charlie Parker songs whenever inspiration strikes. Corneglio's arrangements lean more toward hard bop than swing, and in one spot even quote from a Stevie Wonder song. The musicians are all excellent, and the soloists (in addition to Woods) have no difficulty playing over the chord changes. Although one wishes that these performances were more than just swinging versions of ten songs from the show, the results are enjoyable.

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