"WEST SIDE STORY" WEEK (NOVEMBER 10-16, 2013)
Even with ever-changing personnel, the virtuosity of The Canadian Brass cannot be disputed. So, the only problem with being a group of talented musicians is finding enough quality material to perform. Bernstein is a safe choice, so this should be a great album and for the most part it is. However, there are a few arrangements that seem designed to serve the ensemble more than the composer and that's where there's a problem. But those moments are few and not too terribly distracting. The quintet has produced over 100 albums since its founding in 1970, so it would be unrealistic to expect a home run every at bat.
This album contains 15 tracks, 10 from West Side Story. The penultimate track, Bernstein Portrait, is an original piece by producer/arranger Christopher Dedrick. That piece isn't terrible, but I think they should have stayed with Bernstein's work and saved the original material for another time.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart
Tracks: The better arrangements here are of Jet Song, Something's Coming, and One Hand One Heart. One of the best tunes on the CD, Make Our Garden Grow, comes not from West Side Story but from Bernstein's operetta Candide. Arrangements that don't work are Maria, Alleluia, and, ironically, Best Of All Possible Worlds.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None
Previously revisited for the blog:
Jazz Roots (2008)
All You Need is Love (1998)