To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of West Side Story on Broadway, Dave Grusin revived the score, giving its ten themes fresh arrangements that keep the original melodies in mind but add a stronger dose of jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms to the music. For the most rewarding recording of this music since Stan Kenton's powerful renditions of the early 1960s, Grusin utilized an all-star big band with strings. Among the key soloists are trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, Bill Evans, Michael Brecker on tenor, baritonist Ronnie Cuber and flutist Dave Valentin (who is featured on a purposely cute rendition of "I Feel Pretty") plus the pianist/leader, who clearly loves the music. In addition, one song apiece features vocalists Jonathan Butler ("Maria"), Gloria Estefan and Jon Secada.
This electrifying bossa nova version of ten great songs from the West Side Story admirably showcases Bill Barron's triple-threat talent as soloist, arranger, and leader. Bill's relaxed, long-lined solos on tenor saxophone confirm him as a member of that school of "hard-nosed" lyricism wich includes Miles Davis, Stan Getz and Bill Evans.
Music from West Side Story is a 1986 compilation album by Dave Brubeck and his quartet of music from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim musical West Side Story, with other tracks taken from Brubeck's albums Bernstein Plays Brubeck Plays Bernstein (1960) and Anything Goes: The Music of Cole Porter (1966) and My Favorite Things (1965).
"Maria" done as a swinging, uptempo ballad, while "Tonight" becomes a jumping-off point for all concerned into a jazz excursion across several decades' worth of tunes. By contrast, "What Is This Thing Called Love?" is done in a slow, pensively lyrical, lilting fashion. Paul Desmond's playing shines every bit as much as Brubeck's, and the whole record - including the Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hart material - swings in some unexpected directions that still delight five-plus decades later.
The last of a series of showtune albums recorded by the trio of pianist Andre Previn, bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Shelly Manne finds the all-star group focusing on the music of West Side Story (Previn and Manne alternated leadership, and it was the drummer's good fortune to have the famous My Fair Lady album under his own name). This CD reissue has eight of the main themes from the famous musical, including "I Feel Pretty," "Maria" and "America." As usual, the melodies are treated respectfully yet swingingly, and Andre Previn in particular excels in this setting.