Shades of Blue
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New American orchestral music with jazz and gospel influences.

The works on this CD represent the rich, imaginative and varied scope of contemporary Black artists' landscapes and musical horizons. The composers, who represent various voices in style, generation and compositional approaches contained within the African American artistic experience, handle the cultural materials in ways that are not only cohesive but eloquent. These efforts further illuminate the attempt of contemporary artists to broaden, stretch, and expand the languages and forms of the modern orchestral culture. This partially live recording of the Prague Radio Symphony and Washington Symphony Orchestra, captures the essence of African American contemporary sacred and secular life through music. This recording does a great service to what composer T.J. Anderson calls, "the duty of the composer to document the culture." David Baker's Shades of Blue was commissioned by and written for the Roanoke Symphony, which premiered it in 1993 under Victoria Bond. The commission specified an orchestral work with a strong jazz influence but not requiring outside soloists. Leslie Adams' Ode to Life was commissioned by the Cuyahoga Community College of Cleveland on the occasion of its 15th anniversary. The composer considers it a "celebration of life itself." Stephen Newby's Gospel Songs were composed for Willis Patterson. They are really a compilation of four gospel songs.
David Baker, composer
Shades of Blue
Prague Radio Symphony; Julius Williams, conductor

H. Leslie Adams, composer
Ode to Life
Prague Symphony Orchestra; Julius Williams, conductor

Stephen Michael Newby, composer
Gospel Songs for Baritone & String Orchestra
Washington Symphony; Julius Williams, conductor; Richard Taylor, baritone

Review to come
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