Recorded in The Brain and Creativity Institute's Cammilleri Hall at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Jerome Kern's "I'm Old Fashioned," an arrangement by bass player Gary Wicks, was the first piece played by the quartet several years ago and has become one of the quartet's most requested tunes. By contrast, Andrew Boyle's "Gone" was a piece Yarlung commissioned, and which Andrew presented to the quartet for the first time during this session. Gary surprised the group with his arrangement of Duke Ellington's and Billy Strayhorn's "Isfahan," which was one of the first takes in Cammilleri Hall. "Sophisticated Lady" is guided by JJ Kirkpatrick in a free improvisation on "Strange Fruit," the Abel Meeropol melody made famous by Billie Holiday, a song instrumental in civil rights progress in the U.S. in the mid-20th century.
The Sophisticated Lady Jazz Quartet pays homage to the great tradition of American jazz, but most of their repertoire is written by members of the quartet. These tracks are complete takes, live-to-tape, without editing. Music cannot get fresher than this. When the members of Sophisticated Lady quartet first played in Cammilleri Hall their eyes lit up and excitement built. They responded to the beautiful sound in the hall immediately, and the acoustics enabled Yarlung to record this album with the characteristically minimalist approach.
More jazz records should be like Sophisticated Lady Quartet - relaxed yet focused, tradition-based yet modern, elegant yet conveying a sure sense of swing. The recording is so pure that you almost feel as if you're eavesdropping on four musicians who seem completely in their element while performing, in a one-take environment, a set that's evenly split between previously rehearsed arrangements and performances where they had one chance to turn a composition into a memorable piece of music. No splicing or editing here - just a live-in-the-studio recording where the mood, playing and sonics are so solid that that jazz lovers will wish that the mostly-classical label Yarlung wandered over to this side of the street more often.
The Sophisticated Lady Jazz Quartet's debut recording should be of great interest to fans of forward-looking straight ahead jazz. Each of the four musicians is excellent both as soloists and in ensembles, the music that they perform ranges from melodic versions of standards to lyrical originals and freer explorations, and their subtle playing keeps one guessing. This [album] is well worth exploring and I certainly recommend it.
Look out Brubeck, Sophisticated Lady's remarkable debut should perhaps be re-titled TAKE ONE. Why? Each tune was captured in one take! The [album] also celebrates Yarlung's audiophile venture into JAZZ with a splatter of Chet Baker's seductive, kicked-back Californication daubed with a drizzle of Miles at his mellowest. No matter how busy your day, an evening spin through this one will definitely move your mood.
- German Audiophile Pressing
- High-Resolution Virgin Polycarbonate
- Recorded in the Brain and Creativity Institute's Cammilleri Hall at USC, October 24-26, 2013
- Mastering Engineers: Steve Hoffman and Bob Attiyeh
- Executive Producer: John Pruit
- Assistant Producer: Jacob Horowitz
- Microphone Preamplification by Elliot Midwood
- Recorded with AKG C24 & C12 Tube Microphones
|JJ Kirkpatrick||trumpet, flugelhorn|
|Misha Adair Bigos||piano|
- I'm Old Fashioned - Jerome Kern
- Gone - Andrew Boyle
- Isfahan - Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn
- For Andrew - melody kernel by Andrew Norman
- Ropes of Sand - Misha Bigos
- Strange Fruit - Abel Meeropol
- Finale - Misha Bigos
- Green Eyed Monster - Andrew Boyle
- Night Night - Gary Wicks
- Sophisticated Lady - Duke Ellington
- Weightless - Gary Wicks
- Fields of Kurdistan - Misha Bigos