Reynolds Jazz Orchestra has recently released "The Threepenny Opera"featuring a who's who of modern jazz. Among my personal favorites is tenor saxophonist Walt Weiskopf.
From the Liner Notes:
The Threepenny Opera is a classic work of epic theatre, a celebrated collaboration by the composer Kurt Weill and poet, playwright Berthold Brecht that was premiered in 1928 at the Berlin's 'Theater am Schiffbauerdamm'. So when the turn of the millennium in 2000 marked the late Kurt Weill's 100th birth anniversary it was appropriate to commemorate his creative expression in an exclusive way. As a tribute to Kurt Weill the composer, the Renolds Jazz Orchestra premiered an instrumental rendition of this musical comedy at the Saalbau Concerts in Aarau, Switzerland (later to be known as jazzaar concerts).
The concept of the 100th anniversary performance is to have the tunes from The Threepenny Opera rearranged by Christian Jacob, my long time musical partner, favourite pianist, composer and arranger and to supplant the sung dialogues with instrumental improvisations to exude the essence and temperament distinctive of the Threepenny Opera.
To express the mood and emotions of this work without employing the wonderful craft of Berthold Brecht's libretto was only imaginable to me with musicians that were soloists in their own rights inside and out of the jazz genre. Hence the musicians were selected before the new arrangements were written. As a result we have the funk chops of a Randy Brecker, through the Ducal plunger sound of Barrie Lee Hall and the charismatic Baritone Sax of Bernd Konrad to the sophisticated improvisations of a Walt Weiskopf or the Blakey Tradition of a Bobby Watson with the southern backbeat of a Victor Lewis and the breathtaking spontaneity of Miroslav Vitous.
The live performance transpired into a reflection of pure enjoyment of musical dialogue rather than playing up to 'Who is the greater soloist?'. There was even a theatrical element in the visual presentation on stage what with every man posing as a beggar in miss-matched outfits and not to mention the dog that sat through the whole 2 sets on stage next to Shelley Carol taking in the ambience much to the audience' amusement!
I feel blessed to have been able to engage these fantastic musicians and am indebted to each one for their contribution to these 112 minutes of live music. I'm especially thankful for this audio recording albeit taped from a two track-recording console.
Fritz Renold – 2011
You can find out more about Shanti Records and Reynolds Jazz Orchestra HERE.