Sowerby / Avalon String Quartet - Paul Whiteman Commissions | RECORD STORE DAY

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Evoking the Roaring Twenties, Chicago composer Leo Sowerby's engaging and ingenious Synconata (1924) and Symphony for Jazz Orchestra ("Monotony") (1925), critically praised for their distinctive harmony, counterpoint, and humor, receive world-premiere recordings by Chicago bandleader-trombonist Andrew Baker and his Andy Baker Orchestra, making their Cedille Records debuts. Sowerby was among the leading young American classical composers commissioned by celebrity bandleader Paul Whiteman to create fresh repertoire for his landmark series of "symphonic jazz" concerts - a roster that also included George Gershwin, Ferde Grofé, and Zez Confrey. The same Jazz Age concerts that saw the premieres of Sowerby's Synconata and Symphony for Jazz Orchestra also launched Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue into America's consciousness. The program also includes Sowerby chamber works from the same period: his Serenade for String Quartet and the world-premiere recordings of his String Quartet in D minor and Tramping Tune for piano and strings, all performed by the Avalon String Quartet, an ensemble "prizing grace, charm and elegance" (WQXR Radio). Joining the Avalon in Tramping Tune are pianist Winston Choi, head of the piano program at Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts, and Alexander Hanna, principal double-bassist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The album was recorded by the Grammy Award-winning team of producer James Ginsburg and engineer Bill Maylone.