Duke, Dee and Me
Tuesday, 12 August 2008 @ 8.00 pm • Christ Church Cathedral

Reviewer Ed Farolan

The Fred Stride Jazz Orchestra

Dee Daniels, vocalist

This Cathedral Evening Series featuring Dee Daniels would have been a success if it weren't for many delaying factors. Just the intros alone took almost half an hour, with the Festival Director talking about donations and contributions, plus pictures taken with a Royal Bank representative handing out a check.

Then another long intro by another Festival representative about how great Fred Stride was as a jazz composer. Finally, the jazz orchestra composed of almost 20 members came in with their trumpets, trombones and saxophones, plus the piano and the drums and a bass...I mean, why such a big orchestra? It looked like a school band about to parade in this small cathedral. Further, they were playing so loud that people like myself were going deaf with all the noise.

Fred Stride himself admitted that his music was "rowdy". True enough, it wasn't only too loud and rowdy, it was the worst kind of jazz I've ever heard. There was no rhyme or rhythm to his compositions. In fact, in one number, "A Few Shades Darker", he admitted that he got panned for this piece. Well, I found out why. It was nothing else but pure cacophony.

He also introduced two of his compositions, "Oddly Enough" and "The Spanish Tinge" which he said would come close to the Spanish habanero, and that he had composed these to blend into the "Music of the Americas" theme of the Festival. There was nothing habanero or Spanish in these two pieces. They were, like "A Few Shades Darker", more noise.

The saving grace of the evening was Dee Daniels. But I could hardly make out the lyrics as she sang because Stride's orchestra was too loud and it was blurting out everything that Dee Daniels was singing about.

I wasn't surprised when, during intermission, I noticed some people leaving for good.

© 2008 Ed Farolan