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Clark by Summit Jazz Orchestra & Clark Terry

My earlier review of the Summit Jazz Orchestra's debut CD, "Moods of a Cat," suggested that much more was still to be heard from them. Well, they're back with more to hear and lots to like. Christian Sommerer's 17-piece big band from Regensberg, Germany is very much together. Their articulation and dynamics are to be marvelled at. They can swing like mad or produce moody and colorful tone poems. Arrangements are inventive and challenging. Solo opportunities abound. In short, a musician's band !

This time around they have as their guest jazz legend Clark Terry, Terry is tireless on both trumpet and flugelhorn. Arranger/trumpeter Sven Klammer redesigns the wardrobe of a certain Ellington lady and Clark shines on the resulting "Lady Sophie." He's fiery on "Just Friends," vocalizes and plays on "I Want A Little Girl" and delivers his patented "Mumbles." "Clark," an eighteen-minute suite with plenty of surprises by Marko Lackner, allows the master to exhibit his versatility in a swinging "Autumn Leaves," ,a sensitive "When I Fall In Love" and a powerhouse solo on his own "Spaceman."

The cuts without the famous visitor are equally exciting. They include the call and response "Both Sides," an intricate version of Trane's "Miles' Mode" and Bert Joris's "Walkin' Tiptoe." The latter uses time and accents to suggest that all seventeen pieces are doing just that. And what soloists! Sven Klammer on trumpet, pianist Michael Wollny and reedmen Mark Wyand, Markus Lihocky and Jurgen Zimmermann. It's a rare orchestra that has so many creative soloists of this caliber.

No generation gap here! Clark, 79 at the time, travel-weary and not in good health, nevertheless comes through with an amazing and joyous performance and, as Christian said "with his inspiration, humor and dedication raised the band to the next level." Clark, for his part, felt that "my experience with Christian and the Summit Jazz Orchestra was one of the most enjoyable periods of my career." Listen! You can tell!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Summit Jazz Orchestra & Clark Terry
  • CD Title: Clark
  • Genre: Big Band / Swing
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Edition Collage
  • Rating: Five Stars
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