This is a unique enterprise and should be placed with similar hallowed orchestral and semi-orchestral recordings: William Russo's Three Pieces for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra with the Siegel-Schwall Band; Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra; several of Mike Oldfield's early recordings (Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, Ommadawn); Chuck Mangione's compositions with orchestra; and so on. Jorgenson is a hot-jazz guitar virtuoso a la Django, with chops to set him alongside Al DiMeola and Paco de Lucia.
The first half of the CD puts him squarely within the Nashville Orchestra, playing as a part of that large ensemble but with a good deal of solo space and plenty of room to wail either way. The second half sees the famed Turtle Island Quartet, headed by the outstanding David Balakrishnan, and others backing the guitarist, all flanked by strings and symphonic whatnots. "Concerto Grosso" spaces its movement between lively flow and waltz tempo (mid-way), setting Jorgenson in a lengthy balladic mood with gracefully lyrical leads. Naturally, closing the quite expansive suite, the tarantella section gives the instrumentalist a very wide avenue to display his lightning fingers for all they're worth.
Jorgenson has been dubbed the "U.S. Ambassador of Gypsy Jazz" and has worked with Dylan, Raitt, Pavarotti, and others, treasured for his soulful executions even amid whirlwind runs dazzling listener and musician alike. The second half of the CD, however, is less concentrated on the symphonic aspects and sees Jorgenson cutting loose more frequently in the title cut and elsewhere. Thus, you get the best of both worlds here, the classicalist infused with musique moderne, and the modern spiced with classicalism. For the more gypsy-steeped version of Jorgenson's gig, however, skip on over to the review of One Stolen Night (here), a collection of full throttle hot jazz.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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