How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Although legendary L.A. composer/producer/arranger David Axelrod has not released a new album in six years, his back catalog has been sampled by DJ’s around the world. In fact, this CD isn’t a completely “new” collection of tracks either. Seven of the nine tunes here come from sessions Axelrod recorded for Reprise in 1969, which have been buffed up with the addition of strings, vocal choirs and other orchestral flourishes. While Axelrod’s ambitious pop, rock, jazz, classical, and blues compositions have aged reasonably well, they still have a slightly dated 70s feel to them. Two new tracks "The Little Children," featuring West Coast rapper MC Ras Kass and "Loved Boy," featuring soul singer Lou Rawls – are certainly more contemporary in tone. Nevertheless, the CD contains marvelous solo performances by Ernie Watts (sax), Lanny Morgan (alto), Bob Efford (baritone), and Howard Roberts (guitar). Special attention should also be paid to the outstanding work of Carol Kaye, a freelance bassist who has reportedly played on over 10,000 recording sessions! Despite its meager playing time (34 minutes), Axelrod’s eponymous return is jam-packed with brilliant moments. ####