by Robert Nicosia
The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, DIVA Swings Broadway
Since their premiere performance 29 years ago, the Diva Jazz Orchestra has toured the world to critical and popular acclaim. They have performed in Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and The Newport Jazz Festival just to name a few of the most prestigious music venues they have performed in. Chances are some of you, especially the big band lovers, don’t know about them. But you should because the Diva Jazz Orchestra is one of today’s best performing big bands. The quality of music they perform is at the highest level and the arrangements are new and exciting! This group of talented musicians make music that will remind you why you always love the big bands of past years.
The band’s focus on their new CD is on some of the best songs from the greatest Broadway shows. We all will recognize the songs they have selected but Diva gives them new life with reimagined arrangements that will knock your socks off. The music Director of the Diva Jazz Orchestra is Sherrie Maricle who also plays Drums on the CD. If you follow “The Music Man Blog” you probably remember Sherrie Maricle from her marvelous Drumming for the 3D Jazz Trio on the CD “I Love To See You Smile” that I reviewed in September of 2020.
I loved the songs and sounds on this CD, it is simply straight-head big band Jazz at its finest level. The CD was released on March 17, 2022.
I have attached two “YouTubes” from “Diva Swings Broadway”. The first is from the 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway show “Oklahoma”. The wonderful arrangement was created by Bass player, Noriko Ueda. The second selection is a Scott Whitfield arrangement of the 1956 Lerner and Loewe classic, “My Fair Lady’. Sherrie Maricle added these comments in her liner notes, ” This is Scott Whitfield’s “barn-burner” arrangement that serves as the perfect foil for our virtuosic and fiery alto saxophone soloists. Building on their momentum, I added my solo voice to the mix to drive the song to a rousing finale.”
“Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin”
“Get Me To the Church On Time”
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
Sherrie Maricle-Musical Director, Drums
Alexa Tarantino-Soprano/Alto Sax, Flute
Mercedes Beckman-Soprano/Alto Sax, Flute
Roxy Coss-Tenor Sax, Clarinet
Laura Dreyer-Soprano/Tenor Sax, Clarinet
Leigh Pilzer-Baritone Sax, Bass Clarinet, Flute, Clarinet
Annette Aguilar-Percussionist on Tracks 2 and 6