London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vince Mendoza featuring John Abercrombie, guitar; Michael Brecker, tenor saxophone; Peter Erskine, drums; Marc Johnson, bass; Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone; John Taylor, piano; Kenny Wheeler, trumpet
The wedding of European music with Jazz soloists has occurred at various times during the last sixty years, sometimes with success and at others a complete failure. The happier moments have arguably included Stravinsky's effort with the Woody Herman Orchestra in 1946 and various projects set up by, among others, Eddie Sauter, Boyd Raeburn, Claus Ogerman, Lalo Schifrin and Patrick Williams.
Vince Mendoza has certainly produced a worthwhile work of musical art using some of the most brilliant modern soloists in the current Jazz scene in partnership with the world famous classical orchestra.
This is not inaccessible highbrow music; it relies heavily upon a backdrop of smooth string-arranged themes which allow the soloists free reign to demonstrate their wide abilities. Abercrombie slides neatly into the introduction and soon Wheeler and the contrasting saxophonists Brecker and Lovano appear with full support of the tight rhythm section. Later, John Taylor shows his mettle and Johnson and Erskine take their turns in the limelight.
All credit is due to Vince Mendoza for producing this very listenable, serious work.
This impressive CD is best listened to in a complete session.
by Al Merritt
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