Metropolitan Jazz Octet is the reawakening of a music group originally started in the 1950’s by Chicago saxophonist and arranger Tom Hilliard. In 2011, Tom gifted his entire MJO library to his former students; soon after an idea was born: To reshape the ensemble for the 21st Century
The Metropolitan Jazz Octet partners with the acclaimed vocalist Paul Marinaro to create an inspired tribute to the durability and pure magic of David Bowie's songwriting legacy. Reinterpreting without replicating, due in no small part to Marinaro's riveting vocals paired with creative arrangements, the octet palette reveals transparency and intimacy, coaxing nuanced colors more indicative of a larger orchestra, laying out an inventive complement to Bowie's lyrics.
The truest measure of artistic respect doesn’t lie in repeating previous innovations. It comes from building upon and extending those concepts, as the MJO has done here with the help of the pitch-perfect, improbably versatile vocalist Dee Alexander – not only in the use of updated harmonies and more sophisticated rhythms, but also in the addition of strings on several tracks, expanding the range of colors and textures at the arrangers’ disposal.