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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'New Shoes: Kind of Blue at 60' [2CD]
Artist - Schapiro 17

For those not in the know, New York big band Schapiro 17's brand new album re-imagines Miles Davis' legendary, and ultimately landmark album Kind of Blue by turning the music into virtually new compositions using Davis' tunes as the starting point.

Here on this stunning new 2CD set New Shoes: Kind of Blue at 60 (out April 10th, 2020 via Summit Classical), Schapiro 17 (led by Jon Schapiro) translate the lean sound of the sextet that assembled in the spring of 1959 into the widescreen colors of a jazz ensemble in the tradition of the Ellington and Basie bands of the '40s.

CD 1:
1. 'Boiled Funk' (11:54)
2. 'Foiled Bunk' (3:05)
3. 'So What' (14:03)
4. 'Boiled Funk 2: Dark Of Night' (3:55)
5. 'Blue In Green' (10:02)

CD 2:
1. 'Boiled Funk 3: Worth Your While' (2:26)
2. 'All Blues' (12:08)
3. 'Boiled Funk 4: Old Feet, New Shoes' (5:14)
4. 'Flamenco Sketches' (9:52)
5. 'Boiled Funk 5: A Smile' (5:41)
6. 'Freddie Freeloader' (12:25)
7. 'Boiled Funk / Theme' (4:28)

Listening to the new orchestrations, it's plainly obvious that sometimes the sound hints at the sort of orchestration you hear on Charles Mingus records; such as the brilliant Ah-Um (recorded the same year as Kind of Blue and in the same room - the Columbia church studio on East 30th street).

That Schapiro and many of his band members took part in the BMI workshops taught by Jim McNeely (himself influenced by the founding instructor of the workshop Bob Brookmeyer), accounts in part for the unique inheritance of this tradition of orchestrated jazz.

In Schapiro's scores this is not at all a form of antiquarianism but of pushing that style to the outer limits of invention without ever ceasing to swing.

The Miles tunes are intercut with original charts, six pieces all called 'Boiled Funk.' The title is a rearrangement of the letters k i n d o f b l u e, and while the resulting music is not exactly funky, the anagram is a good way to think about what it means to make new things from a set of given elements.

The whole recording is in a fundamental way true to the spirit of Miles' restless and mercurial inventiveness as he was, in addition to so many other things, a powerful and original interpreter of other people's tunes.

Opening with the exquisite piano and horns of 'Boiled Funk,' it's obviously not quite correct to say that New Shoes: Kind of Blues at 60 features arrangements of the five songs on Miles's album.

Moreover, they are more like entirely new compositions, which happen to take the Miles material as a starting point.

Works such as the pronounced piano work from Roberta Piket on 'Foiled Bunk,' the free flowing jam of 'So What,' and both the stringent horn work of 'Boiled Funk 2: Dark of Night' and the lush swing of 'Blue In Green,' all come together to produce a quite magnificent, breezy yet cultured first disc.

The frenetic, yet at all times steadied trumpet work of 'Boiled Funk 3: Worth Your While' is a masterful way to open the second disc and is backed seamlessly by the exuberant 'All Blues,' the funky horns of 'Boiled Funk 4: Old Feet, New Shoes,' and both the lush 'Flamenco Sketches' and the gentle, dance hall passion sway of 'Boiled Funk 5: A Smile.'

The second disc then rounds out with the horn orchestrations of 'Freddie Freeloader,' with the finger-snappin' hipsway of 'Boiled Funk / Theme' bringing the new set to a triumphant close.

Musicians: Jon Schapiro (composer, conductor, arranger); Bryan Davis (trumpet); Andy Gravish (trumpet); Eddie Allen (trumpet); Noyes Bartholomew (trumpet); Deborah Weisz (trombone); Alex Jeun (trombone); Nick Grinder (trombone); Walter Harris (bass trombone); Rob Wilkerson (alto saxophone); Ben Kono (alo saxophone); Candace DeBartolo (also saxophone); Paul Carlon (tenor saxophone); Rob Middleton (tenor saxophone); Matt Hong (baritone saxophone); Roberta Piket (piano); Sebastian Noelle (guitar), Evan Gregor (bass)l; and Jon Wikan (drums).

Amazon CD Purchase Link

Schapiro 17 @ Facebook