It continues to be a great pleasure to follow the Jon De Lucia Octet around — a saxophone orchestra with a satisfying repertoire of songs and arrangements not over-exposed: by Gerry Mulligan, Dave Brubeck (the early Octet, not the more famous Quartet), Bill Smith, and our hero Ted Brown. Some of the charts are transcriptions from recorded performances (with space for improvisations); others draw on the original arrangements. In the photograph, you can see pages from Mulligan’s charts for TURNSTILE. (Jon is a thorough researcher.)
The Octet is also that marvel of Nature, a band with a steady personnel: Jon on alto saxophone and clarinet; Andrew Hadro on baritone, clarinet, and (for this performance) announcing the songs; Jay Rattman on tenor; John Ludlow on tenor, Adam Schneit, tenor, subbing for Marc Schwartz; Ray Gallon, piano; Aidan O’Donnell, string bass; Steve Little, drums (again playing on a drumset not his own).
Here are the four performances they offered a delighted audience on the evening of March 29, 2017, at the Greenwich House Music School in New York City. First, Mulligan’s D.J. JUMP (originally created for the Gene Krupa band — as DISC JOCKEY JUMP):
VENUS DE MILO (familiar from the “Birth of the Cool” sessions, but in a different arrangement):
JAZZ OF TWO CITIES (Ted Brown’s line on PLAY, FIDDLE, PLAY — in 4/4 — arranged by his daughter Anita Brown):
WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE? (from the Brubeck Octet book):
Jon and the Octet will be performing again at Sir D’s Lounge in Brooklyn on May 29: find out about his other shows (and recordings, and see other videos) here.
May your happiness increase!