Maria by Leonard Bernstein; arranged by Nick Finzer
In addition to my band “Hear&Now” I’ve been working on a number of other projects, that not only feature my original music, but some arrangements I’ve done of other people’s music. The concept for my latest quartet project - the “Songs & Stories” quartet - is to reimagine and recreate some iconic pieces from the jazz repertoire as well as music that has a connection to my life.
The new video that I’m sharing today, features one of these pieces that has been influential on my musical development. This video is an arrangement I did of Leonard Bernstein’s composition “Maria” from the musical West Side Story.
Featuring: Chris Ziemba (piano), Dave Baron (bass) and Jimmy Macbride (drums)
This song has stayed with me since the beginning of my musical upbringing. Some of my earliest memories of elementary school music classes I have include watching the movie version of West Side Story. While I was in middle school, my main focus wasn’t actually trombone, but singing. When I was in 7th grade I performed “Maria” as part of a musical theatre-themed choir concert. At the time, having a solo piece in the midst of this choir concert seemed like a big deal! And my family remembers it as one of the important moments in my musical beginnings.
When I was brainstorming repertoire for this new project, I wanted to include music that has a strong personal story connection - and this one certainly has that. There have been a few jazz renditions of this tune (notably by Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond), but I think we presented a new take on this beautiful song. If you enjoy the video, I hope you’ll share it with your communities, and be sure to let me know what you think in the comments section!
Until next time,