FIVE PLAY, the sister group of the world-renowned DIVA Jazz Orchestra, was formed in 1999. The quintet is comprised of DIVA’s rhythm section and two of its foremost soloists FIVE PLAY is rooted in the jazz tradition and is fueled and inspired by the members’ collective, creative vision to swing through the 21st Century. The quintet’s repertoire is comprised of innovative arrangements of classic and contemporary standards, as well as original music composed and arranged by band members. The group’s library was conceived to highlight the distinctive styles of each player and to create a fresh, exciting and powerful ensemble sound.
FIVE PLAY has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious concert halls, music festivals and jazz clubs. From Carnegie Hall to The Kennedy Center, and major festivals in Israel, Japan, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland and Portugal, the quintet never fails to swing their listeners into happiness. In 2013, the group did an extensive U.S. State Department tour of Vietnam. They were the only American band that had ever performed in 3 of the country’s major cities. In 2004, the quintet was recognized in DownBeat Magazine’s Annual Readers’ Poll as one of the best small groups of the year. In 1999, their inaugural CD, On the Brink, was voted best CD of the year by jazz journalist icon Nat Hentoff.
The inspiration to record FIVE PLAYLIVE from The Firehouse Stage was sparked by the joy and success of The DIVA Jazz Orchestra’s 25th Anniversary Project. DIVA is FIVE PLAY’s “Mothership,” and both bands are powered by the same deep sense of tradition and swing, energized and elevated by original compositions and arrangements, and driven by exciting and unique players.
My enthusiasm for creating and performing music written exclusively by band members for band members has carried over from jazz orchestra to jazz quintet. All FIVE PLAY members have contributed original compositions and arrangements to this recording. As with our DIVA recording, there is something very special about writing music for your friends. Janelle, Jami, Tomoko, Noriko, and I have been playing together for 13+ years. Our longevity has allowed us to develop many deep, unspoken pathways of musical communication and insight. As composers and arrangers, it has given us an inherent understanding of each other’s musical preferences and strengths. It was also simply time for us to create and share our current quintet passions. Our previous release was in 2015, Live at The Deer Head Inn. As with all jazz souls, we are always morphing into new versions of ourselves. Sharing our various incarnations is a joyful, exhilarating, and sometimes scary part of our creative mission.
I grew up in Endicott, New York. It’s near the middle of New York State on the southern border near PA. The Firehouse Stage is in a nearby town called Johnson City, New York. From the moment it opened, I have been a fan of this extraordinary performance space. When I was thinking about where to record FIVE PLAY, and given the fact that I much prefer to record live rather than in the studio, I immediately thought of home. My band members and I have many warm and wonderful fans, friends, and family in the area, and when presenting a program of all new music, it’s heartening to do so surrounded by those who support and encourage your success.
Each of these 10 pieces of music is a unique creation from us for our listeners. From my penchant for hard-swinging shuffles like T-Bone Special, barn burners like The Time Being, Basie-inspired arrangements like I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, to Tomoko’s Brazilian-fired Samba De Sorvete and Bop masterpiece The Pilot, Noriko’s contemporary opus Uneven Pieces and bass-centric arrangement of Nancy with the Laughing Face, Janelle’s lyrical waltz Circles and captivating ballad Unexpected, and Jami’s nod to Cootie Williams on Just Squeeze Me, we hope each gets your feet tapping and lips smiling.
Sherrie Maricle, music director/drums
Tomoko Ohno, piano
Noriko Ueda, bass
Jami Dauber, trumpet/flugelhorn
Janelle Reichman, tenor saxophone/clarinet
1. T-Bone Special Sherrie Maricle (5:26)
2. Samba De Sorvete Tomoko Ohno (6:03)
3. Just Squeeze Me Duke Ellington (6:36)
4. Uneven Pieces Noriko Ueda (5:50)
5. The Pilot Tomoko Ohno (7:21)
6. Nancy with the Laughing Face Jimmy Van Heusen; arr. Noriko Ueda (7:05)
7. Circles Janelle Reichman (7:56)
8. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
Jimmy McHugh; arr. by Sherrie Maricle (5:46)
9. Unexpected Janelle Reichman (7:48)
10. The Time Being Sherrie Maricle (7:34)