MP3 White Tie Group - Plays Well With Others
Classic jazz standards presented with a new twist.
9 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Smooth Jazz, JAZZ: Latin Jazz
WHITE TIE GROUP--plays well with others
Program notes by Frank Heath of Bandwagon Productions
Harold Smoliar, piano. Don Evans, bass. Andy Reamer, drums and percussion. With guests Lilly Abreu, vocal. Peter Sullivan, trombone.
Sit forward and tense up. This is jazz and you should bring something to it. You don''t have to pay your dues but you should have them in your pocket.
During the elegance of Someone to Watch Over Me, you''ll think of the spell, the spirit, the approach of Mabel Mercer, Bobby Short, Andy Razaf. But Not For Me evokes Duke Ellington as he taught his audience how to be hip, nodding the head and snapping the fingers---properly. And there''s that Count Basie ending.
Corcavado augments the trio with Lilly Abreu and Peter Sullivan, in classic jazz tradition. Abreu does the vocal in Portuguese with impeccable grace and ineffable sadness.
Don''t know if ''ineffable'' is a word in Portuguese, but if she sang it, it would sound good. Sullivan somehow plays trombone in Portuguese, too, exactly as it should be. Branford Marsalis once referred to the trombone as a ''crappy'' instrument. This track alone proves Branford Marsalis, like wise men, can be wrong.
Poinciana flowers, blooms, propagates under Smoliar''s fingers. It doesn''t quite grow where you thought it would and you hold your expectations in abeyance, replacing them with a different, more delightful version.
All The things You Are, is an ok title for a song, but '' Promised Breath of Springtime'' might be better. Either way, the solid beat of Evans and Reamer provides the fundamental sound of the trio, while Smoliar plays atop and behind the beat. The key is the anticipation in the rhythm and again the melody with smiles of surprise.
The New York medley starts with the primary sound of Sidewalks, and then goes off in unexpected directions through Autumn and a Latin version of Tea for Two first brewed for a PSO Pops performance in Heinz Hall. Very easy to swallow while you''ll be searching for the familiar flavors.
Watermelon Man has the requisite sweetness and if you want program music there''s the bass spitting out seeds. Otherwise, it''s just string against the fingerboard, one more rhythmic element. This is a good track for selective listening; the first couple times, just enjoy it. Then let the keyboard float and concentrate on percussion. There''s so much going on, it''s a concert all by itself.
Caravan brings back Peter Sullivan and the camels are cookin''. An unlikely metaphor, but apt. This is Juan Tizol''s tune, with Duke Ellington. Tizol played valve trombone and that is a crappy instrument, Tizol, Brookmeyer, McConnell notwithstanding.
There''s more but these are just words. The music is jazz.
Smoliar, Evans and Reamer are members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and that shouldn''t surprise you at all.
White Tie Group
Harold Smoliar, piano Don Evans, bass Andy Reamer, drums
White Tie Group, formerly known as Symphony Jazz Trio has evolved into its present form over the last twenty years. Always comprised of members of the Pittsburgh Symphony, the only constant has been Harold Smoliar, the English hornist of the PSO and the pianist of WTG. Formed originally as a diversion, the trio has become an ongoing concern in Pittsburgh jazz spots such as Fosters, the Reservoir Jazz series in Highland Park, The Balcony in Shadyside (before its closing) and Citiparks Courtyard Jazz series at the City-County Courthouse. WTG has been featured and has also accompanied acclaimed jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval on the Pittsburgh Pops series. In addition, they have performed with clarinetist Richard Stolzman on Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Subscription concerts. They also played with Bobby McFerrin when he was featured with the Pittsburgh Symphony on a special concert. The group opened for Ray Charles in Heinz Hall in August 1999 and performed at the Mayernik Center in Avonworth Park both in the summer of 1999 and 2000 as well as the Neville Island summer park series. They have performed on the chamber music series at Rodef Shalom, First Fridays at the Frick, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Street Fair, On Q (WQED-TV''s live news magazine show) and several times at Waynesburg College. Most recently they performed at the Frick Art and Historical Center''s Music for Exhibitions.
Harold Smoliar was born in Philadelphia and lived the first twenty years of his life there, studying the piano from age six and the oboe from age twelve. He attended the Curtis Institute of Music where he received his Bachelor of Music degree in 1978. From there, he went to Rio de Janeiro to play Principal Oboe in the Symphony Orchestra of Brazil for one season before joining the Pittsburgh Symphony as their English hornist in September 1979. He is co-founder of the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Project as well as White Tie Group. He lives with his wife Virginia, Production Art Coordinator for PPG and his twin daughters Laurel and Rachel who are studying film, video and photography (Laurel) and violin (Rachel).
Don Evans joined the PSO in September 1990 as Assistant Principal Bass. Previously he had been Assistant Principal Bass of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra since 1981. A graduate of Duquesne University School of Music, his principal teachers include Joseph Wallace, Robert Leininger and Sam Hollingsworth. A Pittsburgh native, Evans has also performed locally with the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony and the Three Rivers Training Orchestra. Don lives in Bethel Park with his wife Laura and their four children Abby, Molly, Don, and Andrew.
Percussionist Andrew Reamer joined the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1989. He earned both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Temple University in Philadelphia where he studied with Alan Abel. Mr. Reamer played percussion with the Philadelphia Orchestra for six years before joining the PSO. He is on the faculty of Duquesne University where he is head of the Percussion Department. His interest in woodworking and making fine percussion instruments stems from his first drum teacher, his father, who currently makes highly sought after custom drums and sticks. Andy has recently released an etude book for marimba players-Reamer''s Elixirs: Two-Mallet Fixers for the Perspicacious Percussionist.