Around Town with Chicago Jazz (Episode 036) features an interview with Jim Gailloreto, from the Chicago Metropolitan Jazz Octet, along with vocalist Paul Marinaro discussing their new project "The Bowie Project".
The recording which is coming out on Origin Records and is a reinvention of the music of the iconic artists David Bowie. Mike Jeffers talks with them about how the project was conceived to the final product.
Released by Origin Records, their Bowie homage reinterprets many of the singer’s classic songs, including “Let’ Dance,” “Changes,” and “Space Oddity,” into fluid, fully orchestrated jazz pieces—honoring Bowie’s lyrics and melodic/harmonic complexity while using the octet palette to paint with intimate, nuanced colors.
Origin Records, a Seattle-based jazz label, calls The Bowie Project an inspired tribute to the durability and pure magic of David Bowie’s songwriting legacy.
The octet veers between intimate chamber group sounds and bold little-big-band statements. Throughout, Alexander exudes warmth, conviction, rhythmic certainty, precise diction and hard-earned effortlessness. Her tonality is pure, rich and comforting, especially in her low and middle ranges. “I want you to feel like you’re in your soft, fuzzy robe when you’re listening to me, like you just came out of the shower or out of the bath and are cozy,” she says. “I’m always trying for the honey in my voice.”
Dee Alexander is not one to throw a pity party. Here, as is her wont, she both honors her source material and reimagines it, aided by some brilliant arrangements as well as deft accompaniment (and first-rate solos) from the Metropolitan Jazz Octet. Although she doesn’t shy away from Holiday’s dark side, much of what she and the MJO offer is, in a word, fun, which isn’t always an adjective associated with Lady Day.
What we get is the best big-band era ambiance but with fewer instruments, played with aplomb and a great singer along for the ride, but in a twenty-first-century studio with high-quality professionals in charge. The reinvigorated Delmark label has done well, again, in providing us a timely representation of Chicago’s finest jazz musicians.