Gerald Wilson / Gerald Wilson Orchestra

Theme for Monterey

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In 1997, bandleader/arranger Gerald Wilson was commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival to write an original piece to be performed at that year's festival. Wilson's goal was to compose a melody that the audience would leave the venue singing to themselves. He succeeded by casting his "Theme for Monterey" in five different styles, with his big band interpreting the theme in a variety of moods -- as a ballad, a Latin romp, a medium-tempo piece and a shouting conclusion. His memorable five-part suite has solos by his son, guitarist Anthony Wilson, trumpeter Oscar Brashear, pianist Brian O'Rourke, trombonist George Bohanon, trumpeter Carl Saunders, Randall Willis on tenor, and others. Also on this CD are a couple pieces commissioned by the Ira and Leonore Gershwin Foundation, reworkings of "Summertime" and "Anthropology." Wilson was proud that he was able to give five-part harmonies to every melody note in the latter piece (Charlie Parker's original based on "I Got Rhythm"). Highly recommended.

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