The Re-(w)Rite of Spring
The Re-(w)Rite of Spring
- @newmusicbox We've got @BaltSymphony's Marin Alsop, @DJ_Moderne, @dargel, @missymazzoli and @nadiasirota chiming in: t.co/TYulGwfO
- Thanks @earspasm and @mobtownmodern for a super fun show tonight! #goodstuff
- TONIGHT! Bass clarinetist and composer Michael Lowenstern @earspasm. 8pm @thewindupspace. Tix at the door. t.co/KpMhA271
- B-more, Nap-town, DC: Show tonight in Baltimore at the Windup Space! Come say hey hey... t.co/ehnYddXD
- Bass clarinetist extraordinaire Michael Lowenstern @earspasm this Thursday @thewindupspace at 8pm. http:/mobtownmodern.com
When Mobtown Modern Music Series curator Brian Sacawa invited Darryl Brenzel to adapt Igor Stravinsky’s radical orchestral ballet “The Rite of Spring” for a modern 17-piece jazz big band, no one really knew what was going to happen. There were, after all, riots at the piece’s 1913 Paris premiere. Fortunately, when Brenzel’s creation was unveiled at Baltimore’s Metro Gallery on May 12, 2010, the audience kept their seats in rapt attention, consumed by a work as boldly unconventional as Stravinsky’s original.
Brenzel — recently retired from the Army Jazz Ambassadors — tackled each of the original piece’s 14 sections as its own piece, building off Stravinsky’s original harmonies and melodic material but adapting them and creating space for improvisation by the band’s members, some of the finest instrumentalists in Baltimore/DC area. In Brenzel’s hands, the work stretched and grew. Moving fluidly from big band swing to Afro-Cuban grooves to flamenco rhythms and even down and gritty James Brown funk, the group covers a tremendous swath of large band styles, far beyond primeval Russia. There are echoes of Ellington, Mingus, Evans and Maria Schneider, even as Brenzel’s own unique voice asserts itself.
This recording of the Mobtown Modern Big Band’s performance almost didn’t make it into your hands. This was, after all, conceived as a performance, not a studio session. But once the tape was spun back, it was clear that the results of this magical evening were too good to only share with bandmembers. Innova Recordings is proud to present it in all its wild, boundary-hopping glory, a testament to the enduring strength of Stravinksy’s original, the flexibility and creativity of this rewrite, and the skill of the band itself in carrying it off.
"Sounded great. Boy, those harmonies really worked well in the band. You did a fantastic job adapting it to jazz!"
"What a great job you did. It was a faithful, virtuoso, thoughtful rendering of the original."
—John Dalley, violinist, The Guarneri Quartet
"Darryl Brenzel's jazz band version of Stravinsky's 'Rite of Spring' got beyond the expected snap to create a whole new way of appreciating the grit and power of the original score. In the end, this turned out to be high-class jazz (and some rock), a brilliant combination of musical imagination, technical talent and chutzpah. And the Mobtown musicians were really smokin'."
"I just listened to ‘The Re-(w)Rite of Spring.’ It sounds great. Excellent writing, excellent playing and a great recording. It's really an amazing project and showcases your talent in a most powerful way. Live performance is where it's at! Congrats." —Ken Pullig, Chair of Jazz Composition, Berklee College of Music
“Darryl Brenzel’s version reveals … how indebted jazz has always been to Stravinsky. It turns [Stravinsky] into stimulating music that clears big band jazz of so many of the wretched cliches that undermine it … [O]ne of the most apt jazz adaptations of a classical masterpiece you’re ever likely to hear.”
“[R]ecalls the dense harmonies and thick textures of Bill Holman, though the shimmering introduction to the second section, ‘The Sacrifice,’ instead conjures thoughts of Gil Evans. … [A] very worthwhile pickup for jazz fans in the mood for something different.” [FULL ARTICLE]
“This highly successful execution is exemplified in ‘Dances of the Young Girls,’ which abounds in exciting drum work and some forward thinking guitar work by Steve Lesche. Likewise, Michael Johnston’s flugelhorn floats over the cascading harmonies on ‘Ritual Abduction’ like a kayak over Niagara Falls, while the boppish ‘Ritual of the Rival Tribes’ is as hip as you can get, with some nice sax work supplied by Paul White. Some James Brown funk ends the disc on ‘Sacrificial Dance’ demonstrating that once again, jazz is a verb as well as a noun. Highly impressive.” [FULL ARTICLE]
—George W. Harris