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September 2002

Dutch Jazz Orchestra
You Go to My Head: Billy Strayhorn and Standards
Challenge Records

The Dutch Jazz Orchestra, under the leadership of Jerry van Rooijen, specializes in offbeat projects, and You Go to My Head/Billy Strayhorn and Standards (Challenge) is typical. This CD is one of four on which the band performs arrangements by longtime Ellington collaborator Billy Strayhorn that had never been commercially recorded in their original form. Apparently chance and the sheer volume of Strayhorn's work account for the fact that these charts-written between 1943 and approximately 1962-never made it to the studios. They're all excellent examples of Strayhorn's revered craftsmanship as applied to songs such as "Autumn in New York," "Moon River," "Skylark," "Night and Day," and the title tune, along with nine others. The first-class band, including strings on some tracks, renders them with appropriate style and care. Although the soloists improvise in their normal styles, some of them quite modern, the juxtaposition seems natural. Among them, tenorist Toon Roos and pianist Rob van Bavel deserve special mention. Marjorie Barnes enlivens the lyrics on four tracks.

Originally published in September 2002
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