Dick Johnson | Star Dust & Beyond: A Tribute to Artie Shaw

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Jazz: Big Band Jazz: Swing/Big Band Moods: Type: Tributes
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Star Dust & Beyond: A Tribute to Artie Shaw

by Dick Johnson

Dick Johnson’s Shaw Tribute a Clarinet Tour de Force - With Star Dust & Beyond, Johnson and this 17-piece band stake their claim to “Big Band Recording of the Year.”
Genre: Jazz: Big Band
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Tracks

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1. In The Still Of The Night
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4:51 album only
2. Fungii Mama
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3:20 album only
3. Gone With The Wind
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3:56 album only
4. The Grabtown Grapple
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4:29 album only
5. Star Dust
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4:29 album only
6. Moody Street
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4:57 album only
7. My Funny Valentine
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4:00 album only
8. Waltz For Debby
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3:55 album only
9. I Concentrate On You
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4:25 album only
10. Anniversary Song
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4:15 album only
11. Bossa For Pam
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4:10 album only
12. When The Sun Comes Out
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4:39 album only
13. My Romance
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4:15 album only
14. Pray Tell, Sarah, Where's Dan?
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3:09 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Although reedman and bandleader Dick Johnson has been around big bands for fifty years, it wasn’t until February of 2006 that he finally embarked on a full big band recording of his own. The result is Johnson’s latest CD release, Star Dust & Beyond: A Tribute to Artie Shaw, and it’s available now. With Star Dust & Beyond, Johnson and this 17-piece band stake their claim to “Big Band Recording of the Year.”

Johnson, whose career stretches back to the late 1940s, learned his craft in the bands of Charlie Spivak, Buddy Morrow and Herb Pomeroy. His small groups have recorded for Mercury, Riverside and Concord Jazz. He’s a mainstay of New England jazz, but today he might be best known as the leader of The Artie Shaw Orchestra, a position he’s held since 1983, when Shaw himself picked Dick to lead the reorganized band.

The spirit of the recording is embodied in its name. Star Dust & Beyond is Dick’s heartfelt tribute to Shaw, his lifelong musical inspiration. But if you’re thinking that this music will be just another trip down memory lane, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. There are 14 tunes here featuring fresh arrangements by Jay Brandford and Grammy winner Robert Freedman. The selections range from Shaw-era standards (“My Funny Valentine,” “I Concentrate on You,” “Star Dust”) to Johnson originals to a few numbers not often found in a big band’s book, like “Waltz for Debby” and “Fungii Mama.” This might be a tribute recording, but there is no doubt Johnson is his own man and the band has a personality all its own.

Dick Johnson’s clarinet is outstanding throughout, and the rest of the band shines as well. It includes Dave Chapman, Sil D’Urbano, Matt Koza, Ed Harlow, and Wendy Macdonald in the reed section; Jay Daly, Trent Austin, Phil Person, and Kerry MacKillop on trumpets; Doug Elliott, Chris Oberholtzer, Chris Dempsey, and Leslie Havens on trombones; and a rhythm section with Paul Odeh, piano; John Wheatley, guitar; Bronek Suchanek, bass; and Mark Holovnia, drums. Lou Colombo takes a star turn with the trumpet solo on “Star Dust.”


Reviews


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David McCrory - 2NVR 105.9fm / 2bbb 93.3fm, AUSTRALIA

Absolutely FANTASTIC!
What can I say after reading the reviews and listening to the disc - it has all been said. Absolutely FANTASTIC! It is a pity there is not more of this music around today.

Peter Wall

More than a stunning tribute to one of the greats!
I was greatly, and pleasantly, surprised by this Artie Shaw tribute. Stunning was the first adjective that came to mind. The Big Band era has never really left my musical preferences, and I can honestly say this recording more than does justice to the Artie Shaw legend. This band deserves to live on in its own right. They'd be very welcome in the UK!

francis de JONG

star dust & beyond
everything has been said by the previous rewievers, what could I add ?
close your eyes, let the music flow,and enjoy . Is'nt that called happiness ?

Stephen Fratallone (Jazz Connection Magazine)

"Big Band Recording of the Year" at next year's Grammys
Some things are worth waiting for. Take clarinetist Dick Johnson, for instance. He's been affiliated with big bands for over 50 years, and for almost half those years he's been at the helm of the Artie Shaw Orchestra, hand-picked to do so by the late "King of the Clarinet" himself. It has just been recently that Johnson has managed to make a full big band recording under his own name. The result is Johnson's latest CD release, Star Dust & Beyond: A Tribute To Artie Shaw (Crazy Scot Records). Don't be surprised if Johnson and his 17-piece band take "Big Band Recording of the Year" honors at next year's Grammy Awards. Read the full review at: www.jazzconnectionmag.com/dick_johnson_and_his_orchestra_star_dust_&_beyond_cd.htm

Todd Bolton

A superb recording! Dick & Co. have hit a Grand Slam.
Dick Johnson is an outstanding musician who just gets better with age. His solo work here is incredible and his leadership with this fine group of musicians is obviously very inspiring. This is a wonderful offering that shouldn't be missed.

Richard Good (Radio One 91 FM, NEW ZEALAND)

Excellent jazz clarinet , in a very fine big band setting .
A good choice of old and new material. In the former, goes far beyond a mere recreation of the classic era of jazz clarinet.

Douglas Overman

Stardust and Beyond
We booked Dick Johnson and the Artie Shaw.Orch in 1987 and were absolutely delighted by the bands quality of musicianship and faithful reproduction of Shaws swing era arrangements and voicings.This record goes one better,it's a thoroughly up to date big band ,great arrangements and solo work and Stardust is worth the price of the record alone.The scoring of the Shaw solo for the reed section is imaginative and very effective.Great stuff and thank you Dick......Doug

Doug Ramsey (ArtsJournal.com/Rifftides)

...in every respect - production, sound and packaging - a first-class project...
...an accomplished clarinetist...with seventeen top Boston-area sidemen and two sidewomen, splendid new arrangements by Robert Freedman and Jay Branford, and a vintage Sonny Burke chart, "Anniversary Song," from the 1940s Shaw book...high quality of soloing by all hands...produced as a labor of love by a small foundation, but in every respect--production, sound and packaging--it is a first-class project. It even departs from common album practice and identifies the musicians in the photographs.

Read the full review at www.artsjournal.com/rifftides/archives/2007/03/martinlundgren.html

Graham Truscott

One of the finest jazz clarinetists of all time.
I have been playing the clarinet, sometimes semi-pro, for over 60 years. I heard Dick with the Artie Shaw band with Artie conducting ... that was in San Diego in the early 80s. I thought then and still think now Dick is one of the finest jazz clarinetists of all time.

Robert Reny

fresh performances...unique arrangements...tight cohesive section work
Plan to be thoroughly pleased when you hear this music...fresh performances...unique arrangements...tight cohesive section work...plenty of solo space...one of the better big band jazz releases in recent years...excellent liner notes by friend and fellow musician, saxophonist Bill Kirchner...A tip of the IAJRC hat to the Somerled Charitable Foundation for producing such a creative album, from musical content to sound quality to packaging. Highly recommended.
(Excerpts from the review written for the International Association of Jazz Record Collectors Journal - IAJRC.org. The full review is available in PDF form - by kind permission of the IAJRC editor - at SomerledCharitableFoundation.org/Feedback.aspx)
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