Artist: The New Jazz Orchestra
Title: Le Déjeuner Sur L’Herbe
Label: Dusk Fire
Form: CD Digipak
Barc: 5 065001 032981
“One of the finest jazz recordings ever made and arguably the best big band recording by British musicians …” JAZZ JOURNAL
• First ever reissue since 1968
• 1000 ltd. edition run
• High quality digipack inc. 12-page booklet notes by Dave Gelly with archive images
Reissued for the first time, The New Jazz Orchestra’s 1968 release ‘Le Déjeuner Sur L’Herbe’ features key players in modern British jazz including Henry Lowther, Ian Carr, Michael Gibbs, Derek Wadsworth, Barbara Thompson, Dave Gelly, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Frank Ricotti, Jack Bruce and Jon Hiseman, under the directorship of Neil Ardley.
This, the NJO’s second album – notably driven by the late Neil Ardley – measured more than ably both the calibre of musicianship and the choice of some of the original compositions by composers such as Ardley himself (who composed the title track), Mike Taylor, Mike Gibbs, Howard Riley, and Michael Garrick.
‘Nardis’ features solos by Ian Carr on flugelhorn, George Smith on tuba and – rarely heard – Jack Bruce on acoustic bass.
Complementing this is what might be considered the best big band version of Coltrane’s ‘Naïma’ ever heard.
‘Angle’ by Howard Riley demonstrates how receptive this collection of musicians was to new music and in particular free jazz.
‘Ballad’ by Mike Taylor features a tenor solo by Dave Gelly and is a typically exquisite Taylor piece..
Michael Garrick’s ‘Dusk Fire’ is given such a fantastic overhaul that it almost steals the show.
‘Study’ by Alexandre Tansman, benefits from an arrangement by Mike Taylor with Barbara Thompson and Henry Lowther soloing on soprano and trumpet respectively.
‘Rebirth’ is a quintessential Mike Gibbs number and features solos by John Mumford on trombone and Frank Ricotti on marimba and vibes.
And that title track: a major departure in jazz being a complete composition, ‘Le Déjeuner Sur L’Herbe’ based on one, long continuous melody, with no repeated passages, letting the solos and interludes between them develop, and indeed exhaust, the musical implication of the main theme.
News media comment about this record on release in 1968 …
“A momentous album … a unified voice that pretty much sums up practically everything that a jazz orchestra requires.”
“A masterly piece of work …”
“… a really superb and inventive album”
“… a range of feeling, technique and individuality that conquers completely.”
A DUSKFIRE RECORD www.duskfire.co.uk