Premiere: Watch a Video for the Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra’s Rendition of Puccini’s ‘Nessun Dorma’


Urban(e), a new recording from the Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra due out Aug. 28 on Greenleaf Music, grew out of a singular notion: the marriage of the classical and jazz idioms.

(Photo: Courtesy of Artist)

Trombonist-composer Mike Fahie—a prolific bandleader and in-demand sideman on the New York scene—is serious about his twin passions for jazz and classical music. Urban(e), a new recording from Fahie’s steadfast large ensemble due out Aug. 28 on Greenleaf Music, grew out of a singular notion: the marriage of the classical and jazz idioms. Fahie’s arrangements celebrate the cross-pollination of these two styles, fusing them into one cohesive sound.

Urban(e) represents more than 200 years of musical invention, interpreted through a jazz lens and including subtle undertones of blues, rock and soul in its seven tracks, all well-known works from the classical repertoire.

The album features a tender rendition of “Nessun Dorma”—one of the best-known arias ever written—from Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot. Fahie’s arrangement features tenor saxophonist Chet Doxas and brings harmonic intrigue and thoughtful dynamics to Puccini’s masterwork, calling upon night sounds to enhance its beautiful melody.

The track premieres as a single below, accompanied by a time-elapsed video of Fahie creating a watercolor painting that portrays fireworks exploding over a glimmering cityscape.

“I was challenged to make my own videos during the coronavirus lockdown, so I started thinking of things I could do at home,” Fahie said. “During this period of extended time, I’ve been learning to paint, and one of the things I like to do is watch painters work. I thought, why not turn my new hobby into a music video? ‘Nessun Dorma’ means ‘none shall sleep,’ and it’s a victorious song. What is majestic and victorious at night? Fireworks! Once I decided on that, I wanted to time the appearance of the fireworks with the final glorious chorus. And now, it’s ended up with a double meaning, because fireworks and ‘none shall sleep’ are a major theme of the last couple of months. Sometimes, art just works out like that.”

Appearing alongside Fahie on Urban(e) is a winds section consisting of saxophonists Aaron Irwin, Anton Denner, Chet Doxas, Quinsin Nachoff and Carl Maraghi; trumpeters Brian Pareschi, David Smith, Sam Hoyt and Brad Mason; and trombonists Matthew McDonald, Nick Grinder, Daniel Linden and Jennifer Wharton. Guitarist Jeff Miles, pianist Randy Ingram, bassist Pedro Giraudo and drummer Jeff Davis make up the ensemble’s rhythm section. DB

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