Gunther Schuller: Summertime
Orange Then Blue
Jumpin' In The Future (GM 3010)
Gunther Schuller (conductor),
Ken Cervenka (trumpet), Peter Cirelli (trombone), Krista Smith, Mark Taylor (French horns), Robert Carriker (tuba), Matt Darriau, Adam Kolker, Dave Finucane (reeds), Bevan Manson (piano), Dave Clark (bass), George Schuller (drums).
Composed by George Gershwin & DuBose Heyward. Arranged by Gunther Schuller.
Recorded: Boston, MA, March 26, March 28 or May 1, 1988
Rating: 85/100 (learn more)
The recording dates above are rather misleading, as it is the premiere performance of an arrangement written by Gunther Schuller in 1949. It was written for the Miles Davis Nonet but never recorded or broadcast by that group. Gil Evans famously described the Claude Thornhill sound (which he helped originate) as hanging "like a cloud," and Schuller's arrangement opens with hypnotic seesawing chords that create the same effect. An ominous countermelody in the tuba and baritone sax leads to the theme statement with cup-muted trumpet fronting a dance-band style background that maintains the chords from the opening for awhile, then gradually moves into more complex counterpoint. Then the mood breaks with a double-time chorus (with another double-time passage placed on top!). While the harmony remains Thornhill-esque, the overall style turns into straight-ahead bebop. And this passage, which seems completely unnecessary, probably did more to take this chart out of contention for recording by Miles than anything else. Still, for all it achieves, it is an amazing effort from the very talented Mr. Schuller.
Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe