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Gene Perla: Orchestral Tones for Elvin Jones

Gene Perla

Of all the recording projects Gene Perla has overseen during his distinguished 40-year career as a musician, producer and record label owner, none has taken a more curious and surprising route to completion than his newly released CD, Bill’s Waltz (PM).

It all began as a simple but intriguing notion: In 1986, Perla decided to orchestrate the propulsive force unleashed by drummer Elvin Jones, relying on MIDI technology and the assistance of percussionist Don Alias. But the project has evolved into a full-blown orchestral session that features Hamburg’s NDR Big Band. Its 10 performances are vigorously underpinned by recordings that Jones made over 20 years ago, and colored by a series of multifaceted arrangements recently devised by Perla and, in one instance, by his friend (and Lehigh University teaching colleague) Bill Warfield.

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