Album: DIVA Swings Broadway
Artist: The DIVA Jazz Orchestra
Label: DIVA Jazz
The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, a 15-piece all female ensemble, is comprised of versatile musicians seasoned in reed, woodwind and brass instruments as well as rhythmic and percussive tools. The group’s latest CD entitled DIVA Swings Broadway is an assortment of covers showcasing nostalgic Broadway musicals personalized by these innovative musicians. Led by drummer Sherrie Maricle, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra are torchbearers of swing jazz and big band romps. Bursting with merriment from start to finish, the recording leaves elation and mirth in its wake.
Noriko Ueda’s bass solo opening George and Ira Gershwin’s ageless tune “The Man I Love” sets the momentum along a course of rolling crests and ebbs through the melodic progressions. Horns take flight intermittently, catapulted by the knolls crafted by the bass line. Turning reflective, the languid gait of Tomoko Ohno’s piano keys twinkling lightly across Cy Coleman’s iconic aria “With Every Breath I Take” fodder the rambling musings of the cadre of flutes, saxophones, trombones, and trumpets. The multiple layers in the track encapsulate an array of fiery and cushiony features, each going off at various points along the evolution of the chord movements.
The swing jazz sheen coating the Broadway’s classic showtune “The Sound of Music,” penned by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, arouses a sensuality that gives the track a big band vibrancy. With a flare for producing warm aesthetics, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra displays a charisma that engages audiences. The band demonstrates a zest for bouncy and bubbly facets along the roaring raptures of Meredith Wilson’s seminal musical “Seventy-Six Trombones,” and soften into a litany of lofty verses and symphonic ruminations sealing “Love Who You Love,” written by Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens.
The clarion chimes of the horns propelling Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s popular tune “Get Me To The Church On Time” pivot with a spontaneity that is ultra kinetic as the instruments blaze and relax in a prism of impulsive reflexes. The fun is seamless as Maricle moves into an expressive and explosive drum solo.
Equally dynamic as well as harmonious in their dialogue, the DIVA Jazz Orchestra’s personalized touch-ups of a selection of Broadway classics on their 2022 recording has the potency to enthrall audiences. Both connoisseurs of swing and big band blends, and those not familiar with such blends, will find the DIVA Jazz Orchestra’s offering to their liking.
Sherrie Maricle – Music Director and drums
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, clarine
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 “Pure Imagination” and “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning;” performing agogo bell by Bola, caxixi, contemporanea repinique, cuica, mineiro, pandeiro (AAA 10” by Boemia), shaker, tamborim