COMPOSERS: Michael Garrick
LABELS: Jazz Academy Records
WORKS: Lady of the Aurian Wood
PERFORMER: Michael Garrick Jazz Orchestra: Michael Garrick (piano), Norma Winstone (voice)
CATALOGUE NO: JAZA 17
That a figure such as Duke Ellington can function as a source of repertoire, inspiration and subject matter must be a jazz thing; after all, no one writes music ‘about’ Beethoven. Another memorable example also came from a British composer, in the shape of Mike Westbrook’s On Duke’s Birthday.
Garrick’s Lady takes a more considered approach. Its strong narrative is entwined with strands drawn from sacred music, Shakespeare and fantasy to produce a mythopoeic concoction that presents Ellington’s personality and role in the development of jazz with charm.
In lesser hands this whole idea could collapse into self-indulgence, but Garrick’s judicious orchestration allows every theme and mood to develop naturally, although there’s no shortage of energetic fizz from his soloists. Roger Thomas