Vince Mendoza & Temple University Studio Orchestra | Constant Renaissance

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Constant Renaissance

by Vince Mendoza & Temple University Studio Orchestra

6-time GRAMMY-winning superstar composer Vince Mendoza delivers a tribute to the city of Philadelphia and three of its jazz icons: John Coltrane, Billie Holiday & Dizzy Gillespie. With Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts & the Temple University Studio Orchestra.
Genre: Jazz: Big Band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Bebop Elation (feat. Terell Stafford & Dick Oatts)
Vince Mendoza & Temple University Studio Orchestra
6:32 album only
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2. Solace and Inspiration (feat. Terell Stafford & Dick Oatts)
Vince Mendoza & Temple University Studio Orchestra
8:30 album only
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3. Love, A Beautiful Force (feat. Terell Stafford & Dick Oatts)
Vince Mendoza & Temple University Studio Orchestra
7:16 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Philadelphia’s relationship with its generations of musicians, poets, painters, dancers and other creative artists has been a steady and proud process of innovation, reinvention and rebirth. You might even say that the city is in a Constant Renaissance. And although some might say that jazz was the “other” SOUND OF PHILADELPHIA, in reality, many of the important innovations in jazz were born in the clubs and streets of this city after World War I, riffing and morphing, and eventually cross pollinating with the work of other artists in Philly. I chose to compose Constant Renaissance around three luminaries from Philadelphia who forever changed the course of jazz.

The city named him Dizzy and the name stuck. And there was no other Dizzy Gillespie. John Birks Gillespie arrived in Philadelphia in 1935 at the age of 18. Even then he was a pioneer. His music hit like fireworks. His trumpet playing reached for the stars. And Philadelphia embraced him. In November 1942, Dizzy Gillespie secured an extended engagement at the venerable Philly jazz spot, The Downbeat, on Ludlow Street, most known for its embrace of progressive music and
its racially integrated audiences. It was a key location in the history of jazz in the city. It was there that Dizzy honed his already original musical ideas and set the stage for his later encounters in New York City that cemented Bebop as THE NEW MUSIC for the next generation. His music was rhythmic, vivacious, virtuosic and transmitted a sense of love and elation that was an important thread in the fabric of Bebop. With the first movement of Constant Renaissance, Bebop Elation, I want to evoke the spirit of Dizzy’s innovation, the excitement of new creation, the tempi, color and rhythmic bounce that was part of the backbone of his music, and the acrobatic nature of the melodies that go along for the ride.

American poet Rita Dove writes about Billie Holiday: “If you can’t be free, be a mystery.” There is indeed something transcendent and mysterious about the voice of Billie. Her sound was about beauty, but also pain, love and longing. Her phrasing seemed to float in mid-air. She sang her life, but she always kept her inner self in a private space. Her voice was a source of solace and inspiration to those who heard her. She was the unmistakable soulful voice of jazz. Born in Philadelphia, her life was tragically cut short in 1959. During her short career, Billie often came back to Philly to perform, most often at the ornate Earle Theatre on Market Street. The second movement of Constant Renaissance, Solace and Inspiration, is dedicated to her.

Saxophonist/composer John Coltrane lived and worked in Philadelphia from 1943 to 1958. But it was toward the end
of that period, after leaving the Miles Davis Quintet in 1956, that Coltrane, struggling with drug addiction, returned
to his Strawberry Mansion house to kick his habit, and find his inspiration and spiritual awakening. The compositions and recordings following this period became some of the most defining works in 20th century music and a continued guiding light followed by generations of jazz musicians. In particular, the seminal work A Love Supreme, conceived and written at the Mansion house and recorded in New Jersey in 1964, is Coltrane’s offering of thanks for his revelations. The final movement of Constant Renaissance, Love, a Beautiful Force, embraces the use of the ostinato as both a sense of meditation and a traditional invitation to improvisation. The ostinato motive of this movement is in constant variation from beginning to end. The conclusion of the piece morphs into a more contemporary treatment of the ostinato, in a constant ascension to the heavens, in gratitude for the path Coltrane has cleared for us.

Vince Mendoza
Los Angeles, 2019

VINCE MENDOZA has been at the forefront of the jazz and contemporary music scene as a composer, conductor and recording artist for the last 25 years. According to All about Jazz Mendoza “daringly expands the vernacular by including elements of abstract impressionism, romanticism and a highly unorthodox palette to position him as the clear and natural successor to the late Gil Evans.” He has written scores of compositions and arrangements for big band, extended compositions for chamber and symphonic settings while his jazz composing credits read like a “who's who” of the best modern instrumentalists and singers in the world today. Mendoza was recognized as “Best Composer/Arranger” by Swing Journal's critics poll in Japan. His CD Epiphany features his compositions played by the London Symphony Orchestra. El Viento and Jazzpaña further pushed the boundaries of jazz and Flamenco Music. His 2011 solo release “Nights on Earth” features Mendoza compositions arranged for small and large ensembles, with guest appearances by Luciana Souza, Malian vocalist Tom Diakite and musicians from Spain, Africa and Brazil. Mendoza’s Grammy nominated big band release Homecoming celebrates his compositions for the WDR big band in Koln, Germany. His Trumpet Concertino, New York Stories and his Concerto for Orchestra commissioned by the Czech National Symphony, weave his individual approach to Jazz rhythms and instrumental colors through a grand symphonic tapestry.

Mendoza's arranging has appeared on many critically acclaimed projects that include dozens of albums with song writing legends and vocalists such as Björk, Gregory Porter, Chaka Khan, Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin, Diana Krall, Melody Gardot, Sting and Joni Mitchell. He has 6 Grammy awards and 33 nominations.

Mendoza is the composer in residence with the West Deutsche Rundfunk in Koln. He is also the Conductor Laureate of the Netherlands Metropole Orkest, of which he was Chief Conductor for 9 seasons. In addition, he appeared as a guest conductor with the Los Angeles and New York Philharmonic, as well as other orchestras throughout Europe, the U.S., Japan, Scandinavia and the U.K.

Mendoza has also written commissioned compositions and arrangements for the Turtle Island String Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, the Metropole Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, The Hollywood Bowl, West Deutsche Rundfunk, The Czech National Symphony and the BBC. His music was featured at the Berlin Festival. He has frequently performed at the Monterey, Montreux and North Sea Jazz Festivals. Further information and discography available online at vincemendoza.net

TERELL STAFFORD has been hailed as “one of the great players of our time, a fabulous trumpet player” by piano legend McCoy Tyner. Stafford’s exceptionally expressive and well defined musical talent allows him to dance in and around the rich trumpet tradition of his predecessors while making his own inroads.

Since the mid-1990s, he has performed with groups such as Benny Golson’s Sextet, McCoy Tyner’s Sextet, Kenny Barron Quintet, Frank Wess Quintet, Jimmy Heath Quintet and Big Band, Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band and the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Alumni Band. Along with the Hamilton-Clayton Jazz Orchestra, he performed on Diana Krall’s Grammy nominated From this Moment On (2006). Stafford is a member of the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, that won a 2009 Grammy Award for Monday Night Live at the Village Vanguard (“Best Large Jazz Instrumental Album”). He can be heard on over 130 albums including his latest, Brotherlee Love (2015), a tribute to Lee Morgan. Another solo endeavor, This Side of Strayhorn was hailed by critics as “the first must have album of 2011” and “genius.”

Stafford has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Rosie O’Donnell Show and can be heard along with Bobby Watson on the soundtrack for the feature film A Bronx Tale and in the documentary Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans. He has performed as a guest artist with the Billy Taylor Trio on National Public Radio’s Billy Taylor’s Jazz at the Kennedy Center.

Stafford performed solo trumpet on two Grammy nominated compositions (“Best Instrumental Composition”) composed by Bill Cunliffe: Fourth stream...la banda and Overture, Waltz and Rondo, both with the Temple University Symphony Orchestra and released on BCM&D Records. He also performed with the Clayton Brothers Quintet on the Grammy nominated Brother to Brother in 2010 and New Song and Dance in 2011.

Stafford is Laura H. Carnell Professor of Jazz, Chair of Instrumental Studies and Director of Jazz Studies at Temple University, as well as founder and band leader of the Terell Stafford Quintet, Artistic Director of the Jazz Orchestra of Philadelphia and Artistic Director for Jazz with the Philly Pops. He is widely recognized around the world as an educator, clinician, performer and leader and has received countless award nominations and accolades.

DICK OATTS was raised in a musical family. He was introduced to the saxophone by his father Jack Oatts, a respected jazz educator and saxophonist. He began his professional music career in 1972 in Minneapolis/St. Paul.
After moving to New York in 1977, Oatts joined the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. Since then he has toured, recorded and performed as a sideman in small groups with Bob Brookmeyer, Red Rodney, Eddie Gomez, Mel Lewis, Joe Lovano, Terell Stafford, Ray Mantilla, Jon Faddis, Fred Hersch, Joe Morello, Lalo Schiffrin and others.

His big band and large ensemble experience include the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, Jon Faddis Jazz Band, Tito Puente, Jerry Bergonzi, Lester Bowie, Sam Jones/Tom Harrell and Gunther Schuller. Oatts has been a featured artist with the Metropole Orchestra, WDR Big Band, Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, Danish Radio Big Band, Millenium Jazz Orchestra, High Coast Jazz Orchestra, Winnipeg Jazz Band and the Wellington Jazz Orchestra. He has accompanied vocalists Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé and Nneena Freelon. He has also recorded solos for Luther Vandross and Everything but the Girl.

As a Steeplechase recording artist, Oatts has recorded 10 solo CDs and five as co-leader. He has recorded four CDs with co-leader/pianist Garry Dial and another on BCM&D Records entitled That Music Always Round Me based on the poems of Walt Whitman. He and Terell Stafford are co-leaders on Bridging the Gap on Planet Arts. He and Dave Santoro are co-leaders on Meru on Red Records.

Oatts has appeared at college jazz festivals as a soloist and clinician throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America, Europe, Middle East, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Taiwan. He is Professor of Jazz at Temple University and Artist-in-Residence at the Amsterdam Conservatory.

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