The Neophonic Jazz Orchestra remains on hiatus until 2022 because of the COVID pandemic, however, in the meantime, a smaller version of the ensemble is holding down the Neophonic tradition! The Sax Section is five saxes, piano, bass, drums, and vocals, and it’s ready to go after more than a year of silence that has challenged us all. Here’s a taste:
In early 1961, the great Stan Kenton Orchestra recorded an original arrangement of West Side Story. It was arranged by Kenton’s longtime collaborator and arranger Johnny Richards. The album, Kenton’s West Side Story, won the coveted Grammy for Best Jazz Performance in 1962 and today is among the most important and revered big band recordings in history.
Joel Kaye, today the Neophonic’s music director, joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra in late 1961 and toured with the band, performing these same West Side Story arrangements. Joel become a student and close friend of Johnny Richards and when Richards died, he left these unpublished, historic arrangements of West Side Story to Joel.
Richards never arranged some movements of Bernstein’s beloved original score for the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Joel Kaye has chosen several of those omitted movements, written his own arrangements on them and combined them with the original Richards masterpieces. The result is an epic rendition of West Side Story, with great historical significance, that you can experience only with the Neophonic Jazz Orchestra in the coming months.
For list of performances, with links to purchase tickets, please visit our Shows page.
If you are interested in learning more about booking the Neophonic West Side Story, please contact us for more information.