Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra | Suite Messiah

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Jazz: Big Band Holiday: Jazz Moods: Instrumental
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Suite Messiah

by Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra

A jazzy take on Handel's Messiah with the trademark delightfully quirky arrangements the WJO is known for, as well as some charming singing by Erin Propp in a more conventional vein.
Genre: Jazz: Big Band
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Take 5 Mary (You Deserve It)
5:43 $0.99
2. Caroling, Caroling
2:23 $0.99
3. Suite Messiah: And the Glory
5:00 $0.99
4. Suite Messiah: Sheep to Keep
5:12 $0.99
5. Suite Messiah: Hallelujah
8:12 $0.99
6. There's a Train Out for Dreamland
4:47 $0.99
7. Angels We Have Heard On High
6:31 $0.99
8. Two Scandinavian Folk Songs
5:58 $0.99
9. Huron Carol
7:08 $0.99
10. Joy to the World
4:07 $0.99
11. Hymn to Freedom
5:52 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Since its beginnings in 1997, the WINNIPEG JAZZ ORCHESTRA has always strived to produce new compositions and arrangements for big band. In this third recording, we have decided to document some of the seasonal music we have created over the years. Taking music from the great composers, such as Handel’s Messiah, and adapting it for big band has a long history; the Ellington’s suites being, perhaps, the best-known examples. We hope you enjoy these selections and our renditions of some of our holiday favourites.

The Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra is Canada’s first community-based, non-profit professional
jazz orchestra; its equal can be found in only a handful of North American cities. The organization is committed to the creation and performance of big band music through outreach, education and promotion. Visit our website at

TAKE 5, MARY (YOU DESERVE IT) came out of a dream where Take 5 and What Child is This were being played simultaneously. The harmonies in the bridge of Desmond’s tune match perfectly those of the traditional ballad. The rest is pure invention. CAROLING, CAROLING was originally arranged for Denzal Sinclair and takes the familiar tune at a faster tempo, and adds a few twists and turns
when the band takes over.

First performed in 1742, G.F. Handel’s MESSIAH is one of the most famous works in the classical repertoire. And The Glory is sung by full chorus early in the oratorio, Sheep to Keep is a fantasy on Handel’s He shall feed His flock like a shepherd — an alto and soprano duet, and Hallelujah is the centrepiece of Handel’s work and the finale of this suite.

THERE’S A TRAIN OUT FOR DREAMLAND began with the discovery of an obscure Nat King Cole recording for voice and orchestra. Such an engaging tune and lyrics transfer beautifully to the big band setting. Based on an earlier 17th Century French carol, ANGELS WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH became one of England’s most famous carols. TWO SCANDINAVIAN FOLK SONGS is an original medley, which moves from an Icelandic lullaby to a Swedish hymn. This piece was written in 2008 to feature our then new pianist, Will Bonness.

Written around 1642 by Jean de Brébeuf (based on an earlier French folk song), HURON CAROL
is Canada’s earliest contribution to the Christmas songbook. The joyful arrangement of one of the best-known carols, JOY TO THE WORLD, was penned for Denzal Sinclair in 2009. HYMN TO FREEDOM is one of Oscar Peterson’s most famous and heartfelt compositions. This arrangement was done as a memorial to him shortly after his passing. It’s an Ellington-style arrangement with a featured quartet of clarinet, cornet, baritone sax and trombone backed by the whole band.



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