A different Porgy & Bess? Never fear as this is not the musical version of "new coke." I first ran across David Linx when I reviewed his solo release from 2011.
As a critic or "jazz advocate" there are shades of musical gray when it comes to taste. A release is simply a musical snapshot in time of the artistic place an artist finds himself. On occasion this snapshot reflects more than a look at the artist as it is a microcosm of history at a given point in time.
So "A Different Porgy and Another Bess" is the American classic with a slightly more contemporary spin. David Linx and Maria Joao soar while backed by the Brussels Jazz Orchestra. Taking an opera originally performed in 1935 and hitting fast forward without mangling the essence of the original is a daunting task. I would be remiss if I did not mention that part of the more contemporary riff on this 42 year classic is the removal and reworking of certain portions of the original that would be and for most people are considered politically incorrect for the current day. Remember an opera from 1935 is but a snap shot in time and of course what may have passed as acceptable in certain situations then would certainly and in most cases draw deserved condemnation in society today. The only question I would pose would be, "Does re-writing a classic piece of iconic theatre do anything other than camouflage the elephant in the room?" Most people are familiar with the adage if you do not learn from the mistakes of history you are doomed to repeat them.
That being said..."A Different Porgy And Another Bess" is magnificently transformed into a more modern adaptation of the original with perhaps the intent of raising the social consciousness of the audience as part of the desired intent. The musical and cultural traditions that are interpreted in the original Porgy and Bess are actually extended past the somewhat self limiting original characters and it is this brilliantly throughout extension that allows this adaptation to stand side by side with the original as a work of great cultural significance and advancing past stereotypical cultural expectations.
An epic work.
David Linx: vocals; Maria Joao: vocals.
The Brussels Jazz Orchestra
Tracks: A Red-Headed Woman; A Woman Is A Sometime Thing; I Love You Porgy; Buzzard Song; My Man Is Gone Now; Oh Lord, I'm On My Way; Clara, Clara, Don't You Be Downhearted; Bess You Are My Woman Now; Oh, Doctor Jesus; I've Got Plenty Of Nothing; Summertime.
Listen and sample for yourself: