Wayne Alpern is reviewed by Exclusive Magazine

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Wayne Alpern


by Anne Carlini


Title – ‘Jukebox’
Artist – Wayne Alpern

For those unaware, Wayne Alpern is a New York composer, arranger, and scholar who integrates popular and jazz idioms with classical techniques and repertoire to create a sophisticated contemporary style of cross-genre, or even post-genre music.

After years of composing complex new music, he embraced his personal history and indigenous musical culture and fused them with his classical background and training.

His work includes numerous jazz arrangements, string quartets, woodwind and brass quintets, mixed ensembles, pieces for string orchestra, and several piano works.

Here on the just-released new album, Jukebox (out now), there are familiar tunes, neighborhood friends from our own musical backgrounds, if you will.

What is new is how they are handled, how Alpern elevates the everyday into the extraordinary. The Dorians are musical magicians, snake-charming the cherished from the commonplace.

These are gems extracted from nearby soil, glittering specks of sound culled from the canyon of his most prestigious collective imagination.

1. ‘Accustomed to Her Face’
2. ‘All the Things You Are’
3. ‘Bartok Chorale’
4. ‘Beauty and the Beast’
5. ‘Blue Moon’
6. ‘Borodin on Broadway’
7. ‘Do-Re-Mi’
8. ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’
9. ‘Downton Abbey’
10. ‘Handel Allegro’
11. ‘Have You Met Miss Jones’
12. ‘In a Sentimental Mood’
13. ‘Nutcracker Suite’
14. ‘Ornithology’
15. ‘Over the Rainbow’
16. ‘Penny Lane’
17. ‘Send in the Clowns’
18. ‘Surrey with the Fringe’
19. ‘Wonderful Guy’
20. ‘You’ve Got a Friend’

Jukebox features twenty tunes, in alphabetical order, all reinvented, and all embedded with handfuls of creativity, and utilizing the Dorian Wind Quintet, made up of Gretchen Pusch/fl, Gerard Reuter/ob, Benjamin Fingland/cl, Karl Kramer-Johansen/horn, and Adrian Morejon/bassoon, the recording opens with the yearning of ‘Accustomed to Her Face’ and the perky ‘All the Things You Are’ (Jerome Kern), and backs those up with the rigid chamber music of ‘Bartok Chorale,’ the ornately splendid ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ the playful, finger-snappin’, one-two, jazz-pop roll of ‘Blue Moon,’ and then the delightful ‘Borodin on Broadway.’

Next up is the Disney-esque, Broadway flow of ‘Do-Re-Mi’ which is followed by an out of the blue rendition of rock group Journey’s magnificent hit, ‘Don’t Stop Believin’’ (that has to be heard to be believed), and then comes the elegance of the ‘Downton Abbey’ theme, more classically-imbibed chamber music in ‘Handel Allegro,’ the spirited ‘Have You Met Miss Jones,’ and then we get both the mellow jazz standard ‘In a Sentimental Mood’ (Duke Ellington) and the lively ‘Nutcracker Suite.’

The foot-tappin’ ‘Ornithology’ (Charlie Parker) is up next and is followed by the sweepingly beautiful ‘Over the Rainbow,’ then we get a horn-imbued rendition of Lennon/McCartney’s classic ‘Penny Lane’ (which is actually rather hard to actually discern amongst the redo), a somewhat cheerful (believe it or not) ‘Send in the Clowns,’ with the album rounding out on the alertness of more Broadway in ‘Surrey with the Fringe,’ the dance floor swirl and twirl of ‘Wonderful Guy,’ closing on the palpable ‘You’ve Got a Friend.’

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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