I really enjoyed Beegie Adair's Centennial Tribute to Richard Rodgers in 2002. On that album, her piano trio made the most of some of the best songs written during the golden age of the 1930s and '40s.
Her latest venture is also a most worthy effort to recall the grandeur of movie themes from the '50s (and how far we have come since then in today's cinematic environment). During those days, even a smaller film was expected to have a quality soundtrack. The twelve selections representing this era are performed by the pianist and the Jeff Steinberg Orchestra. Members of the Adair group are present within the orchestra. The result is a series of lush and romantic recordings that unfortunately have little to do with a jazz setting.
The album revisits the Beautiful Music era of the '50s and '60s, when artists like Ferrante & Teicher and Roger Williams ruled the airwaves almost as an opposition to the proliferation of rock 'n' roll between 1956-65. I was reminded of the Capitol recordings of George Shearing during the middle to late-'60s, when the pianist delivered easy listening albums with lots of strings. 75% of this album passes by before we first briefly hear Denis Solee's tenor sax fills on "Pete Kelly's Blues" or George Tidwell's flugelhorn on "Blue Gardenia." Many of these tunes would be fully adaptible to jazz interpretation, with my favorite being the film noir ballad "The Bad and the Beautiful."
Please don't misunderstand my disappointment. There is nothing wrong with the finished product. It is a polished and enjoyable work that celebrates a lost era. But it should not be categorized as jazz.
Track Listing: An Affair To Remember (Our Love Affair), Three Coins In The Fountain, Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, The Bad And The Beautiful, A Certain Smile, Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White, Moonglow, Pete Kelly's Blues, From Here To Eternity, Blue Gardenia, Ruby, Fascination.
Personnel: Beegie Adair, piano; Roger Spencer, bass; Chris Brown, drums; Jack Jezzro,guitar; George Tidwell,flugelhorn; Denis Solee, tenor sax; Jeff Taylor accordion; Eric Darken, percussion; Ellen Menking, oboe;
Lee Levine, clarinet; Jennifer Kummer, French Horn; Sam Levine, flute; Mary Alice Hoepfinger, harp; David Davidson, concertmaster; Pam Sixtin, Connie Ellisor, Carl Gorodetzky, David Angell, violin; Jim Grosjean, Kris Wilkinson, Chris Farrell,viola; Carole Rabinowitz, Julie Tanner, cello; Jack Jezzro, bass; Jeff Steinberg, arranger/conductor.