Metropole Orkest Modernise Mingus On Prom Night

Charlie Mingus famously encouraged musicians to play without charts, creating big-band scores with rare spontaneity and energy, so what he would have made of the Metropole Orkest's lush orchestrations in the rarefied atmosphere of the Royal Albert Hall is open to question. By the end though of this triumph, however, I suspect he'd have been out of his seat, charging towards the stage to congratulate all the players and Metropole conductor Jules Buckley (below).

He would have undoubtedly appreciated the superb musicianship of the Dutch-oriented orchestra, set up in 1945 and now plying its trade without much in the way of state funding. And he would have surely happily raised an eyebrow as the arrangements stretched his harmonies, adding new layers of colourful complexity to the chords with some gorgeous voicings, much in evidence on ballads like 'Celia' and 'I x Love'.

Mingus-Prom2

Great soloists were imported to punctuate the charts: soaring trumpeter Christian Scott (pictured top), the ubiquitous, supremely talented Shabaka Hutchings, here on bass clarinet ('Fables of Faubus', wow); golden-larynxed vocalist Kandace Springs (below); and YouTube all-dancing baritone sax star Leo Pellegrino.

But the Metropole members, some not even mentioned as soloists in the programme, were right up there with them – for one, Bart Van Lier (top) threatened to steal the show in the first half with his velvety trombone playing with effortless top end and Bird-esque Carmen quotes (I counted four). On soprano sax Marc Scholten lit up 'God Must Be a Boogie Man', his warm, round sound interplaying sensuously with Kandace Springs' lush vocal. This was a gorgeous version of the Joni Mitchell tune.

Prom-53 CR BBC-Mark-Allan 6

There were also exciting, lengthy solos from Metropole members Rik Mol on flugel – actually played on his neighbour Martijn de Laat's horn because his mouthpiece failed moments before – and Paul van der Feen on alto sax. The imaginative arranging was given full reign on 'Goodbye Porkpie Hat', where the lead was handed to guitarist Peter Tiehuis, whose Scofield-like touches gave the standard a new lease of life and an edge that most big-band versions lack. Joni Mitchell's seminal Mingus album received further exposure with a funky 'The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines', with Kandace Springs doing Joni's rapid-fire, interval-leaping scat full justice.

Prom-53 CR BBC-Mark-Allan 5

The orchestra were returning to the Proms after last year's prime-time TV Quincy Jones tribute triumph. That was a lively old night with stellar high-energy contributions, but even they paled by comparison with the finale here. 'Moanin'' is rip roaring off-the-cuff baritone sax feature. So who better than incredible showman Pellegrino (below), trading solos furiously with Scott, to push it possibly into even wilder territory than it has ever been before?

Prom-53 CR BBC-Mark-Allan 7

His dance moves, while simultaneously producing wicked blues-driven lines on his horn, owed something to Elvis, but also hip hop, and perhaps Lenny Pickett from Tower of Power, another hip-shaking saxist. Needless to say, Pellegrino brought the house down, his vivid pink hair remaining as immovable as his formidable technique. I asked my companion. "Did he overdo it?". The inevitable, smiling reply: "Naaaahhh, you think so?".

Surely the Proms have never seen anything like it. Now what would have Mingus made of that?

– Adam McCulloch 

– Photos by Mark Allan

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Breaking News

Gary Bartz with We Out Here, Rob Luft, E…

The latest names announced for this year’s EFG London Jazz...

Read More.....

Ronnie Scott’s Piano Trio Fest returns w…

This year’s edition of the Ronnie Scott’s International Piano Trio...

Read More.....

Mark Lockheart busts out new jazz-rock Q…

We were getting in at the beginning: the first public...

Read More.....

João Gilberto 10/6/1931 – 6/7/2019

João Gilberto was born in Juazeiro, Bahia, in Brazil in...

Read More.....

Chick Corea, Snarky Puppy, SEED Ensemble…

Love Supreme’s seventh year continues its unique strengths, as an...

Read More.....

Countdown to Love Supreme Jazz Festival …

The Love Supreme Jazz Festival is set to open its...

Read More.....

Braxton Sets New Standards At OTO

Following his glorious residency at London’s Cafe OTO in May...

Read More.....

Shai Maestro, Electric Lady Big Band and…

After its successful inaugural year in 2017, the Jazz Leeds...

Read More.....

Chrissie Hynde goes jazz, Blue Note trib…

Some sizable additions have been added to the EFG London...

Read More.....

Zorn blasts through 50 Bagatelles and Sn…

1959 was a good year for fans of Miles, Trane...

Read More.....

Tony Hall: producer, manager and Jazzwis…

It is with huge sadness that we report the death...

Read More.....

Manhattan Comes To Rottingdean

Unexpected pleasures are the best, even for jazz fans, and...

Read More.....

Saxophonist Alexander Bone wins Kenny Wh…

Twenty-two-year old saxophonist Alexander Bone (above) has been announced as...

Read More.....

LA Fusion stars Spirit Fingers fire-up f…

Virtuosic LA jazz-fusion band Spirit Fingers are set for a...

Read More.....

Call The Cops: Jazzers Run Riot At Bruss…

The annual Brussels Jazz Weekend operates on a gargantuan scale...

Read More.....

Hundred Years Gallery Holds Speaker-Thon

The Hundred Years Gallery, a not-for-profit space showcasing free improvisation...

Read More.....

Babelfish swim to Kings Place for Once U…

Acclaimed jazz-folk group Babelfish are set to launch their new...

Read More.....

Michael Janisch kicks out the jams for n…

Whirlwind Recordings label boss Michael Janisch (above centre) steps back...

Read More.....

Lost Miles Davis Rubberband album snaps …

Rubberband, a previously unissued 1985 album by Miles Davis, is...

Read More.....

Grégoire Tirtiaux and Gratitude Trio lea…

This is a festival where it’s possible to completely miss Kamasi...

Read More.....

Final Bow For The Night Tripper – A Trib…

Refuting the title of his biggest hit, ‘Right Place, Wrong...

Read More.....

Rossano Sportiello rounds out Harriet Co…

For 40 amazing years, the singer Harriet Coleman has presented...

Read More.....

Ronnie Scott’s rolls up to Royal Albert …

Ronnie Scott’s, the iconic London jazz club, will mark its...

Read More.....

Wollny Steals The Night As Moran Breaks …

The first thing to notice were the queues, over 200...

Read More.....

Steam Down, Emma-Jean Thackray and Leafc…

Stroud’s reputation as the alternative hippy hub of the Cotswolds...

Read More.....

Andrew McCormack returns with Graviton: …

Award-winning pianist Andrew McCormack storms back with the second volume...

Read More.....

Jazz Cafe sax summit kicks off second Lo…

Following its successful inaugural run last year, the London Saxophone...

Read More.....

McFerrin Moves Estonian Voices To Jubila…

The second half of Tallinn’s 10-day Jazzkaar festival was particularly...

Read More.....

Herbie Hancock, Terri Lyne Carrington an…

The line-up for this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival is...

Read More.....

Williams And Mancio Find Home With Subli…

  Kate Williams and her distinctive Four Plus Three, that’s her...

Read More.....

McBride, Porter, Reeves and Jazz At Linc…

Although it is a respected cultural event throughout the Caribbean...

Read More.....

Major unreleased Tubby Hayes Fontana alb…

Christmas comes early for fans of the late, great Brit-jazz...

Read More.....

Ripsaw Get Rolling

Baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts and guitarist Anton Hunter take their...

Read More.....

Cello Fellows Honsinger, Dixon & Lon…

The fifth annual Chicago Jazz String Summit took place at...

Read More.....

Bristol Jazz Fest launches Crowdfunder l…

The Bristol International Jazz & Blues Festival has launched a...

Read More.....

Marcus Miller, Tim Garland and Leïla Mar…

The full line-up for this year’s Manchester Jazz Festival has...

Read More.....

Making The Cut Mpu 300x500px

Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

@WesTirey especially when it is in your house
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
@AbstractTruth I can see that, too
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA