The Columns

Critical Praise for CD by W&L's Vosbein

— by on June 14th, 2012

The tradition of turning music from Broadway shows into jazz recordings is far from new. According to a recent piece in the Wall Street Journal, the first such example was 1944, when Charlie Spivak, a trumpeter and bandleader, turned “Porgy & Bess” into jazz.

So Washington and Lee music professor Terry Vosbein was following in a honored tradition when he composed the music for “Fleet Street,” music based on Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd.”

Terry’s work was cited in that same Wall Street Journal article, which praised “Fleet Street” as a “stunner.”

The story continues: “This full-length instrumental treatment of ‘Sweeney Todd,’ Mr. Sondheim’s 1979 masterpiece, is not only a tribute to Mr. Sondheim, but also to bandleader Stan Kenton; the overall groove and tonal colors of ‘Fleet Street’ owe much to Kenton’s classic 1962 jazz version of ‘West Side Story’ (with lyrics also by Mr. Sondheim).”

Discussing the CD when it was released a year ago, Terry said that he had been mesmerized by the music of “Sweeney Todd” from the moment he saw the musical in 1979, calling it “the most amazing thing that I had ever seen on every level — the performance, the writing, the dialogue. I’ve always loved it.”

He composed ‘Fleet Street’ for the 20-piece Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. The CD of their performance is available from Max Frank Music at http://www.maxfrankmusic.com/cd2.html.

Related to:,