by Anne Carlini
|Title – Diva Swings Broadway
Artist – The Diva Jazz Orchestra
For those not in the know, Broadway musicals have been the source of many notable jazz standards, and this album continues the DIVA tradition of reimagining great songs.
Each selection on this new recording The Diva Jazz Orchestra Swings Broadway (out March 17th, 2022) has an inherent musical depth, context, and meaning, energized by our original interpretations that will hopefully elicit fond memories for our listeners.
Each arrangement was commissioned to highlight the power, force, and beauty of The DIVA Jazz Orchestra’s ensemble sound, as well as to feature our fifteen exceptional soloists.
Hard-charging, powerful, immersed in the history of their craft, and passionately swinging the music forward; that’s DIVA – an ensemble of fifteen versatile musicians who expertly balance enthusiastic energy with sophisticated subtlety, virtuosity, and imagination.
Headed by swinging drummer Sherrie Maricle, DIVA exudes the excitement and force found in the tradition of historic big bands, with an eye towards originality and innovation.
With New York as their home base, DIVA performs all over the world playing original contemporary and mainstream big band jazz composed and arranged specifically for the band and tailored to fit their distinct ensemble sound while highlighting each soloist’s unique personality and style.
2. Pure Imagination
3. The Man I Love
4. With Every Breath I Take
5. The Sound of Music
6. Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’
7. Seventy-Six Trombones
8. Love Who You Love
9. Get Me to the Church on Time
This delicious, and radiantly ambient album opens on the lazy, hazy summers stroll of Heart and the gently fervent Pure Imagination and backs those up delightfully with the upright bass-imbued The Man I Love (courtesy of Noriko Ueda), the beautifully-crafted balladry of With Every Breath I Take and then come the low-slung, finger-snapping melodies of The Sound of Music.
Up next are the lusciously free flowing harmonies of Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ and the knock-those-socks off vibrancy of The Music Man’s euphoric percussional cavalcade within Seventy-Six Trombones, the album rounding out (all too soon, IMHO) on the gentle hipsway of Love Who You Love, coming to a close on the pulsating, alto sax-embedded Get Me to the Church on Time (courtesy of both Mercedes Beckman and Alexa Tarantino).
DIVA was founded by Stanley Kay, one-time manager and relief drummer for Buddy Rich. In 1990 he heard Sherrie play, was impressed, and decided to create a band of like-minded players. In 1992 the search was on, and through nationwide auditions the foundation for DIVA was poured. What emerged is the dynamic musical force that holds forth to the present day.
Since their premiere performance 29 years ago, DIVA has toured the world to critical and popular acclaim. Performance highlights include Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Newport Jazz Festival, Dizzy’s Club, Symphony Halls in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Cleveland, and the Hollywood Bowl.
International appearances include Le Meridien Hotel in Paris, France; Teatro de Sistina in Rome, Italy; Berlin Jazz Festival in Germany; Salzburg Music Festival in Austria; Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland; Montreal and Ottawa International Jazz Festivals in Canada; Bogota International Jazz Festival in Colombia; Jamaica Jazz Festival; Zagreb Jazz Festival in Croatia; and the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland.
As if the list of settings in which DIVA has performed isn’t impressive enough, from 2013 – 2020 the band was featured in Maurice Hines’s autobiographical musical Tappin’ Through Life, performing extended theatrical runs throughout the United States.
DIVA has also shared the stage with Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Diane Schuur, Carmen Bradford, Marlena Shaw, DeeDee Bridgewater, Rosemary Clooney, Ann Hampton Callaway, Jack Jones, Clark Terry, Dr. Billy Taylor, Terry Gibbs, Tommy Newsom, Dave Brubeck, and others jazz luminaries.
Notable television, film and Internet appearances including performing at the 2017 NEA Jazz Masters Awards Ceremony live from the Kennedy Center; A 2017 PBS special with Maurice Hines for The Kate show; the soundtrack for the 2014 NBC/Macy’s Firework Spectacular; a feature in the award-winning documentary film, The Girls in the Band; multiple appearances on CNN Arts Break; a dedicated segment on CBS Sunday Morning; and musical features as part of The Kennedy Center’s 25th Anniversary Special, the Japanese television network NHK, and Metropol TV in Germany.
PLAYERS & INSTRUMENTS:
Sherrie Maricle: Music Director, drum set
Noriko Ueda: bass
Tomoko Ohno: piano
Alexa Tarantino: soprano/alto saxophones, flute
Mercedes Beckman: soprano/alto saxophones, flute
Roxy Cross: tenor saxophone, clarinet
Laura Dreyer: soprano/tenor saxophones, clarinet
Leigh Pilzer: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, flute, clarinet
Liesl Whitaker: trumpet/flugelhorn
Jami Dauber: trumpet/flugelhorn
Rachel Therrien: trumpet/flugelhorn
Barbara Laronga: trumpet/flugelhorn
Jennifer Krupa: trombone
Sara Jacovino: trombone
Leslie Havens: bass trombone
Annette Aguilar, guest percussionist on tracks 2 and 6: agogo bell by Bola, caxixi, contemporanea repinique, cuica, mineiro, pandeiro (AAA 10” by Boemia), shaker, tamborim.