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Pop & Jazz Orchestra

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Metropole Orkest at North Sea Jazz 2014

This past weekend the Metropole Orkest performed a total of 3 concerts in 3 different line-ups at the North Sea Jazz Festival. A first for the orchestra, even though it is a regular at the Dutch festival. The concerts were a great finish to the first season as an independently operating orchestra.

Dutch newspaper NRC in its pre-festival recommendations: “The Metropole Orkest plays with two very specials artists: saxophone player Joshua Redman and pianist Robert Glasper (and guests Lalah Hathaway and Bilal). And it will honor one of the most important architects in pop music alive: Quincy Jones. In the presence of the legend himself.”


Robert Glasper Experiment & Metropole Orkest
Conducted by Vince Mendoza
(Friday, 17.15 hour – Maas)

Two versatile groundbreaking Grammy Award winners took the stage. Robert Glasper Experiment and the Metropole Orkest combine music styles like R&B, jazz, hiphop and soul. At the North Sea Jazz Festival Glasper, his band and the orchestra were accompanied by vocalists Bilal and Lalah Hathaway. The press about this first of three concerts…

de Volkskrant: “Glasper goes all out with his own band and the full Metropole Orkest conducted by Vince Mendoza. The combination works. Glaspers graceful compositions lend themselves wonderfully for a full-on orchestral accompaniment. Nice thing about this performance is that it, willfully or not, is the perfect taster for other parts of the festival to come. The Metropole Orkest, plagued by drastic subsidy cuts, seems to have become more energetic and is very present at this years edition.”

De Telegraaf: “Robert Glasper Experiment had the honour to open the second biggest stage at the festival with the Metropole Orkest and did so in an impressive manner. Not a difficult feat with a stage filled with musicians this highly skilled.”

Jazzism Blog: “Robert Glasper takes the stage with the Metropole Orkest, a North Sea Jazz regular and unique because of its capability to play various genres and types of music projects.” “Highlight of the show is when Glaspers band surprise the audience with Nirvana’s grunge classic ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’.”

NRC: “The first day was opened by pianist Robert Glasper and his band, lifted to greater heights by the Metropole Orkest. The combination of jazz and hiphop coupled with woodwinds, brass and strings is a difficult one, but the arrangements were agile.”

Scriptgirl: “Robert Glasper and the Metropole Orkest blew the roof off the stage.”

AD: “The somewhat slick sound of the orchestra dissonated wonderfully well with Glaspers sharp and virtuoso piano play and that of his equally talented band members.”

AD/Haagsche Courant: “The combination of Metropole Orkest and Robert Glasper Experiment goes all out with the first serving of (laidback) high level jazz, as if the concert was to counteract the ever repeating criticism that real jazz is hard to find at North Sea Jazz.”

Joshua Redman Quartet & Metropole Orkest Strings
Conducted by Jules Buckley
(Friday, 21.15 hour – Amazon)

In 2012 the Metropole Orkest already shared the stage with Joshua Redman at the North Sea Jazz Festival. This year, the Metropole Orkest Strings (supplemented with french horn and flute) accompanied the Joshua Redman Quartet to perform pieces of his beautiful album ‘Walking Shadows’.

Metropole Orkest Big Band plays Quincy Jones
Conducted by Jules Buckley
(Saturday, 18.00 hour – Amazon)

The Metropole Orkest Big Band played compositions and arrangements of living legend Quincy Jones. At the end of the show, the master himself took the stage for the grand finale of the concert, conducting ‘Soul Bossa Nova’. A special moment for both the audience as the big band.

Press reviews were enthusiastic…

De Limburger – BN/DeStem – De Stentor: “Finnish musician Vellu Halkosalmi […] reconstructed the arrangements from original recordings and the Metropole Orkest Big Band performed them wonderfully, with the long retired percussionist Cees Kranenburg jr. on drums. Guest of honor Quincy Jones was heard mumbling ‘what a band’ constantly backstage.”
de Volkskrant: “He may be 81 years old, it didn’t stop Quincy Jones from a joyfull little dance when the orchestra played his, half century old, composition ‘Soul Bossa Nova’. The composer/arranger had been listening backstage for an hour while the Metropole handsomely and delicately performed his big band works from the 1950s and 60s.”

Radio 6: “Finnish arranger Velu Halkosalmi worked on the known and more obscure Quincy Jones compositions which were performed with skill and swing by the Metropole Orkest Big Band, with impassioned solo’s of (amongst others) tenor saxophonist Leo Janssen, alt saxophonist Paul van Kemenade and trumpeter Ruud Breuls.”

NRC: “The Metropole, conducted by Jules Buckley, performed his bigband oeuvre in an attractive manner. Nice to witness Jones (81) himself guide the orchestra on his classic ‘Soul Bossa Nova’.”

The entire concert was recorded by Radio 6 and can be listened to via the NPO Player


Newspapers Leidsch Dagblad and de Telegraaf recapped:

Leidsch Dagblad: “Whether it concerns the concerts of the Metropole Orkest (with work by Quincy Jones, or as sparring partners for the incomparable Joshua Redman and the equally skilled Robert Glasper) or reasonably new talent, the NSJF team of bookers where nothing but attentive.”

De Telegraaf: “… lots of excellent home-grown acts, the Metropole Orkest for example…”