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Waterside at Woodlawn Presents Classics Turned Jazz
By Jim and Joanna Macaulay, Calm Reflections Photography http://CalmReflectionsPhotography.com
On Friday August 17th, Jeffrey Silberschlag and his Chesapeake Orchestra, and Woodlawn Farm in Ridge, played host to Don Stapleson and his "Clazzical Jam” jazz quartet for an evening of unusual and delightful jazz music, to close out the concert season there. The group’s name is indeed spelled with two Z’s, as their forte is classical works rearranged as jazz . Don is principle saxophonist for the Chesapeake Orchestra, teaches sax at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, his alma mater, and is a respected flutist.
The quartet consisted of Don on flute, Henry Nam (also an alum of SMCM) on keyboard, Fred Lieder on cello, and Craig Silberschlag (Jeffrey’s brother) on drums. Don’s flute is unusual in that it is bent so that it’s played vertically, rather like an oboe or a clarinet, but the sound is still pure flute.
They opened the concert with "Softly as a Morning Sunrise" from the “New Moon” operetta by Sigmund Romberg, rearranged of course into a lively jazz piece. A rearranged waltz by Erik Satie, and “Bye Bye Blackbird” followed. A lovely slow piece, Benjamin Godard’s “Berceuse” from the opera “Jocelyn” changed the pace. Returning to a lively pace, Don dedicated Victor Young’s "Beautiful Love" to his lovely wife Kathy. For this piece especially, Henry seemed to dance on his keyboard, while Craig “played” with his drums!
Don told us a charming story about Antonin Dvorak, best known for his popular “New World” symphony. When Dvorak was brought to the U.S. to find inspiration for and write that magnificent work, he lived in a hotel adjacent to New York City’s Central Park, and his room had a wonderful view of the park. A visiting friend told him, "You have the most gorgeous front yard!". Entertained by that story, we were then treated to “Nuevo Mundo”, a bossa nova adaptation of the lovely “Largo” from the New World Symphony, while Woodlawn’s cicadas joined in loudly.
Don then bet us we were wondering, “What if Dave Brubeck wrote Beethoven’s 9th Symphony?”, and played "Ode to Desmond", rearranged from that symphony’s “Ode to Joy".
After intermission, we especially liked the new arrangement of "Summertime", from George Gershwin’s opera “Porgy and Bess”. Another personal favorite is the Maurice Ravel orchestration of Gabriel Fouré’s haunting “Pavane” – which was played that night as a bossa nova. Don used a flutter technique with his flute at the end, followed by a hearty laugh as a cicada landed on his arm!
A very lively and exciting piece was Herbie Hancock's “Cantelope Island” from the 60s, later adapted as Rap in the 90s hit "Cantaloop", played as jazz here.
Don then stated, "Of course in any jazz concert you expect to hear Frederic Chopin!", and asked “How would Dexter Gordon play it?”, before playing the “Nocturne in F Minor" in a swing arrangement. Another Chopin work, the "Prelude in D Minor", is better known in its modern adaptation as the song “How Insensitive”, and was played as jazz here as well.
Finishing out the evening, Don told us tongue in cheek that Mozart travelled to Río de Janiero before writing “Eine kleine Nachtmusik”, and then played a very spritely and cheerful adaptation of the “Rondo” from that work.
This has been a fabulous concert season for the Chesapeake Orchestra, and we’re sorry to see it end! However, there is one more concert planned in the “Pops on the Potomac” series at National Harbor, on Saturday August 25th at 7PM. More information can be found at www.ChesapeakeOrchestra.org
Woodlawn Farm was the original home of Maryland’s first governor Leonard Calvert, and is now a 7 bedroom bed and breakfast. The current main building is an authentically restored c. 1798 Manor House in the colonial English tradition. The setting is truly spectacular, with the main house and its circle driveway, patio, wine cottage, beautiful grounds and fabulous waterfront on Calvert Creek. The farm includes twenty acres of grape vineyards, and is the main point of sale for the Slack Wine label. More information about the farm can be found at www.Woodlawn-Farm.com
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