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How High The Moon September Song Chloe Nature Boy Lady Be Good You Are Too Beautiful Mood Indigo Autumn Leaves
|Instruments||Music and Musicians|
|Accompanist/ Conductor||The Medieval Jazz Quartet with George Duvivier, bass; Al Schackman, guitar; Paul Motian, drums|
Customer Reviews (3)
- "Unusual and Truly Unique!"Review by Big Toots
It has been my pleasure to review a fair number of jazz recordings on which instruments not usually – or never in this case – associated with jazz are used. I’ve done harps, bagpipes and even bassoons. It is always an interesting exploration. However, never have I critiqued a session that incorporated using a crumhorn or a bouzouki. So, I approached this recording by The Medieval Jazz Quartet with a bit of interest and, might I honestly add, prejudicial trepidation. I didn’t know that there was somewhat of a surprise in store for me.
Multi-instrumentalist and sonic adventurer, Bob Dorough – he of Schoolhouse Rock fame - here leads a group of musicians performing on rather odd medieval instruments (certainly not odd players) over 8 well-known jazz standards (“How High the Moon,” Lady Be Good,” “Lady Be Good”). The sonic textures that emanate from the various recorders, crumhorns and baroque flute are certainly unique and are novel to most jazz ears – including mine. The sounds are an acquired aural taste, but, they are indeed seductive.
And, while the instruments have the capacity to perform melodies, harmonize well (Dorough did the fine charts) and solo, there are certain aspects of the jazz and Bop vocabulary that those axes cannot create and sound. For example, “blue notes” and other embellishments, including “drops,” "flips,” and “smears.” So, there’s an inherent limitation present. No matter, though.
On the plus side, you have to appreciate the effort and talent put forth here. The players play their axes extremely well and with great spirit. Dorough’s scoring for the recorders, et al, works extremely well (“September Song,” “Nature Boy”). The piano-less rhythm section of superb bassist, George Duvivier, Al Shackman’s (who worked extensively with Nina Simone) guitar and Bill Evans collaborator, Paul Motian on drums is an A-1 team and supports the blowers well. And wisely, the rhythm group doesn’t impede on the volume limitations of the ancient instruments.
Some might find the textures here eccentrically different and as unappealing as an Iron Maiden. I really did not - and hope you don’t. Yes, it certainly takes an open ear. So, take the challenge. You might be surprised and enlightened as I was.
(Posted on 5/24/2015)
- Bob Dorough: The Medieval Jazz Quartet Plus ThreeReview by Simon Sez
This idea has never been done before, nor has it been tried since. Recorded in 1961, the Medieval Jazz Quartet Plus Three (a cute band name) has the recorder players jamming on such tunes as “How High The Moon,” “Mood Indigo” and “Lady Be Good.” The music is swinging bebop with the “horn players” sometimes sounding like they are actually playing flutes. This would be a great album to play for listeners at a “blindfold test.” It is certainly a unique collector’s item and somehow it succeeds at being worthwhile jazz too.
Simon Sez: Imagine bebop being played by four recorders! The Medieval Jazz Quartet Plus Three (CJ19) is the only time it has ever happened.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)
- Review by -Scott Yanow
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