I was talking to a friend recently about music. I made the statement that modern music is largely devoid of musicality and sounds very synthesized and repetitive. That got me thinking about the artists I loe and the ‘musicality’ of their playing.

Several of my long term favorite artists have over the years recorded their compositions with a large orchestra. The results have always been breath-taking to me.

OrkestPat Metheny and the Metropol Orkest

The Metropol Orkest is a jazz and pop orchestra based in the Netherlands, and is the largest full-time ensemble of its kind in the world. A hybrid orchestra, it is a combination of jazz big band and symphony orchestra. In the early 2000s, Pat played several of his best known compositions including First Circle, Are You Going with Me..? and others. While not available on an recording (that I know of), the videos are on YouTube.

Peter Gabriel: New Blood - Live in London [Blu-ray] (2011)Peter Gabriel New Blood

This gem was released several years ago but I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time. With Peter now ion his Front to Back tour, I decided to give it at watch / listen on BluRay. Un-fucking-believable! This orchestra is amazing. I especially love San Jacinto and The Rhythm Of The Heat – both of which brought me to tears. Peter is getting so plump now he reminded me of a monk of some kind!

Jaco Pastorius Big Band
Jaco Pastorius Big Band – Word of Mouth Revisited

Jaco Pastorius Big Band

I just picked this up the other day after listen to a cut of ‘Havona’ on Pandora. It blew me away as does the album. Each song features a well known bassist like Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Jimmy Haslip and Christian McBride (in addition to Jaco himself). My favorite tracks are the ones he recorded with Weather Report including Havona, Teen Town, Punk Jazz… the list goes on!

51gfBVlUQzLBrown Street – Joe Zawinul and the WDR Big Band

This came out in 2005 and is one of my favorites. Basically the music of Weather Report done big band style. Like the Jaco Pastorius Big Band recording, it’s breath taking to hear the well known passages done with a big band flavor. Joe was always big on the “World Music” scene so the result is sort of a Weather Report meets Big Band meets World Music sort of thing. Also especially meaningful since Joe’s passing several years ago.

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