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The Crown Project - Modern Mancini
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The Crown Project - Modern Mancini

7-04-2015, 15:10
Jazz | Vocal Jazz

The Crown Project - Modern Mancini

Artist: The Crown Project
Title Of Album: Modern Mancini
Year Of Release: 2005
Label: Sugo / Monarch Records
Genre: Contemporary Jazz / Vocal Jazz
Quality: Mp3
Bitrate: 320kbps / 44.1kHz / Joint-Stereo
Total Time: 51:38 min
Total Size: 117 MB
WebSite: Amazon

01. Moon River
02. Charade
03. Peter Gunn Theme
04. The Pink Panther
05. Crown Project -Days Of Wine And Roses
06. Dreamsville
07. Baby Elephant Walk
08. The Molly Maguires
09. Song For Cat
10. Holly
11. Two For The Road
12. Soldier In The Rain

Janis Siegel, Oleta Adams, Fred White, Lamont van Hook - Vocals; Alto Saxophone – Gerald Albright; Tenor Saxophone – Doug Norwine; Percussion – Walter Rodriguez, Piano – Fred Hersch, Programmed By – Mark Gasbarro; Flugelhorn – Dmitri Matheny; Flute, Soprano Saxophone – Dan Higgins; Guitar – Carl Verheyen, Dwight Sills, Russell Malone; Harmonica – Tommy Morgan; Drums – Cliff Almond, Jack Kelly; Bass – Abraham Laboriel, Larry Kimpel.

Tribute albums are all the rage these days, so Monarch Records has release Modern Mancini – Tribute to a Music Master under the mysterious moniker “The Crown Project.” Henry Mancini was undoubtedly one of the foremost film and TV scorers, with nearly 80 film scores, four Oscars, and twenty Grammies to his credit, yet one doesn’t have to look too far into his compositions to see his jazz sensibilities at work. Had Mancini not focused so much of his time and talent on scoring and devoted more energies to composing and recording jazz, we can only wonder what he might have contributed to this genre. But given that his musical legacy is what it is, this effort to present some of his most familiar works (and some lesser-known gems as well) in a contemporary jazz context yields only mixed results. For example, “Charade” is re-worked from a waltz into a 4/4 smooth jazz arrangement complete with rhythm loops. Gerald Albright’s sax ably conveys some of the song’s angst with his soulful musings, but it can’t save this musical mismatch. Keyboardist Mark Gasbarro, who plays on many of the selections, tries to update “Baby Elephant Walk” with some new synth samples, but it comes across as hokey. The “Pink Panther” theme fares better, with some great harmonized vocals. Oleta Adams lends some soulful expressiveness to “Moon River,” but I think this song might still be dead from overexposure.

The arrangements that stay away from the contemporary trappings work best. The French horns and strings on “The Days of Wine and Roses” provide a lush, beautiful setting in which Albright’s alto truly shines. Janis Siegel’s duet with guitarist Russell Malone says more with a voice and guitar than many full-production blowouts could ever hope to accomplish. Same goes for Siegel’s duet with frequent collaborator, pianist Fred Hersch. Gasbarro’s acoustic piano pairing with Dan Higgins’ flute and soprano on “The Molly Maguires” is elegant, simple beauty.

For this recording, a never-before-recorded Mancini gem “Song for Cat” was uncovered, and given lyrics and Transferesque vocal arrangement by Janis Siegel. Andy Martin’s trombone and Doug Norwine’s flute make nice contributions as well. This same trombone and flute combination also works well on the next tune, “Holly.” Bottom line: the lesser-known tunes with the more traditional arrangements or elegant duet pairings work well; the overly-familiar tunes with the contemporary reworks don’t. Still, there are lots of exquisite musical moments here, and Mancini lovers should be pleased. (Monarch 1025) ~Dave Hughes

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