May 19, 2024

West Side Story

Jonathan Butler, Gloria Estefan & Jon Secada Are Among Special Guest Stars on this Phil Ramone Production. Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Landmark Show Box-Office smash West Side Story

Academy and Grammy award winning musician/ composer/ arranger Dave Grusin and Grammy and Emmy Award winning producer Phil Ramone have collaborated for the release of Dave Grusin Presents West Side Story.

Grusin’s rendition of the Leonard Bernstein masterpiece is in conjunction with the shows’ 40th anniversary and features a stellar cast of musicians with special guest vocalists Jonathan Butler, Gloria Estefan and Jon Secada.

Dave Grusin Presents West Side Story will be the first audio recording ever to be released in DVD format as well as CD. The DVD will feature original footage produced for the project, which was cast by Jodi Collins Casting, and visuals synched to the music. In addition, it contains a documentary of the “making of,” including interviews with the artists.

“My idea to revisit Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story was born of an old respect for his unique approach to what we have come to know as show music,” states Grusin. “It has been a labor of love to revise and recreate this music for an extended concert jazz band, and to let these kinds of musicians have a chance to work with marvelous material.”

Phil Ramone further states, “It was wonderful to work with Dave and witness the great imagination in which he approached Leonard Bernstein’s unforgettable score. It is our hope that the artistic and creative vision, coupled with the advances and use of new technology, will captivate a whole new generation of music aficionados to this American classic!”

In commenting Jon Secada noted: “Performing ‘Somewhere’ on Dave Grusin’s rendition of West Side Story was a very rewarding experience. Not only did I get to work with Dave and Phil Ramone, I was given the opportunity to sing the legendary music and lyrics written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim – What a Thrill!”.

The vocal performances of Leonard Bernstein’s music and Stephen Sondheim’s Iyrics by Jonathan Butler’s “Maria,” Gloria Estefan on “Tonight,” and Jon Secada’s “Somewhere” prove once again that material of this caliber is timeless. However, it was by using today’s latest technology that Gloria Estefan was able to record her vocal performance in “real time” from a studio in Florida, while tracks were being played in New York, via use of a fiber optics system, a technique which Phil Ramone first pioneered for Frank Sinatra’s Duets I & II.

With its premiere at New York’s Winter Garden Theatre on September 26, 1957, West Side Story revolutionized American musical theater with its unprecedented fusion of jazz, Latin and classical music sources. For this 1997 inspired jazz version, Grusin has assembled an extended concert band of some of today’s greatest musicians including such notables as Michael Brecker, Bill Evans, John Patitucci, Lee Ritenour, Arturo Sandoval, Dave Valentin and Dave Weckl, among many others.

With many of these talented artists at hand, he will premiere this rendition at this years Monterey Jazz Festival, Friday, September 19, which also marks the 40th anniversary of this prestigious jazz event. In addition, a second concert has been added at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Thursday, November 13.

In quoting Dave Grusin: “Hopefully, the spirit of this recording will keep alive the unique qualities and intent of the original. It is amazing that forty years means nothing when dealing with something that is timeless in this way. It was hip in 1957… it is hip now!”