Review: Santa Barbara Symphony and Marcus Roberts Trio in music by Florence Price and George Gershwin

Posted on: June 2, 2022

“For its season finale, the Santa Barbara Symphony delivered a robust performance of Florence Price’s Symphony No. 1 in E Minor, before joining forces with the Marcus Roberts Trio for George Gershwin’s Concerto in F,” writes Nicholas Liu in Friday’s (5/27) Santa Barbara Independent (CA). “The jazz trio—Jason Marsalis at percussion, Rodney Jordan with the bass, and Marcus Roberts, scintillating at the piano—exemplified one-half of a marriage between liquid virtuosity and the orchestra’s own burnished majesty. This particular rendition [of the] concerto arrangement featured the bass and percussion prominently alongside the piano soloist. All three performances shone on their own, while reinforcing each other and merging seamlessly with the orchestra whenever it burst forward. Marsalis’s percussion provided additional impact, and Jordan’s confident strumming bled some languid pulsation into Roberts’s vigorous style. Led by its music and artistic director Nir Kabaretti, the Santa Barbara Symphony demonstrated textural versatility in its performance of Price’s Symphony…. Kabaretti drew out of the score both spiritual lightness and urgent vitality, the strings shimmering alongside an explosive brass section … In the third movement—the ‘Juba Dance’—Price wrote the instruments to evoke bodily percussion, a task in which the orchestra succeeded with sprightly confidence.”