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Duke Pearson: Mosaic Select 8 (2004)

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Duke Pearson: Mosaic Select 8 How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

While even the most successful attempts at blending jazz with bossa nova rarely result in a form of musical expression that moves beyond the tendencies of either, here is a style that does just that—an exploratory music we can confidently term the innovations of Duke Pearson.

Compiled from the pianist's late sixties Blue Note sessions, with a few tracks from 1970 included, there is little in jazz that bears resemblance to what we encounter on these five studio albums, the opening The Phantom in particular. Rather than the light, tipsy sway of João Gilberto's work with Stan Getz, Pearson, his decorative playing a means of insinuating the various textures to follow, was in search of a blend rather more delicately achieved, the movement of South American life with the rhythms predominant of an altogether more hectic hemisphere—or at least of American jazz.

Across these three discs are such notable talents as vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, percussionist Airto Moreira,vocalist Stella Mars, and Mickey Roker, who turns in one of the great "quietly brilliant drum performances of the sixties. His playing is full of air—rests and brief moments of silence placed around more typical downbeat accents, acting as signposts that turn the music's rhythmic patterns back upon themselves, reverberating.

Deft as his piano playing is, it's Pearson's gift for arranging that marks this as his most mature work, an ability to place a groove within a groove in the manner of Miles Davis' Osaka Hall performances, the Roses' "Fools Gold, or Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me —singular company. And even disassociated from the film, the theme from Rosemary's Baby has a way of intruding upon one's thoughts and mood like a Schubert lied or a Nick Drake instrumental—works that cannot be dissuaded. As a weird, welcome bonus, there are ten Christmas numbers, played slightly less adventurously than the surrounding tracks—naturally, one might say—but more palatable, I should think, for those who live in warmer climes, than the Yuletide offerings of the Beach Boys or Don Ho, come the season.

Copyright 2005 Discoveries / Krause Publications.

Track Listing: Disc One: 1. The Phantom 2. Blues For Alvina 3. Bunda Amerela (Little Yellow Streetcar 4. Los Ojos Alegres 5. Say You're Mine 6. The Moana Surf 7. Theme From Rosemany's Baby 8. I Don't Know 9. Captain Bicardi 10. Dialogo 11. Xibaba 12. Once I Loved (O Amor En Paz)
Disc Two: 1. Gira, Girou (Round And Round) 2. Hermeto 3. Lost In The Stars 4. It Could Only Happen With You 5. Stormy 6. Book's Bossa 7. Emily 8. Bloos 9. I Don't Care Who Knows It 10. A Beautiful Friendship 11. Horn In 12. Canto Ossanha 13. Sandalia Dela 14. Tears 15. Lamento 16. Upa Neguinho
Disc Three: 1. Stella By Starlight 2. Clara 3. Give Me Some Love 4. Christo Redentor 5. Little Song 6. My Love Waits (O Meu Amor Espera) 7. How Insensitive (Insensalez) 8. Sleigh Ride 9. Little Drummer Boy 10. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 11. Jingle Bells 12. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 13. Go Tell It To The Mountain 14. Wassail Song 15. Silent Night 16. O Little Town Of Bethlehem 17. Old Fashioned Christmas

Personnel: Duke Pearson (p, flhn, cel), Jerry Dodgion (f, af, as), Bobby Hutcherson (vib), Sam Brown (g), Al Gafa (g), Bob Cranshaw (b), Mickey Roker (d), Victor Pantojo (perc), Carlos "Patato" Valdes (perc), Burt Collins (t), Al Gibbons (f), Lew Tabackin (ts, f), Ralph Towner (g), Wally Richardson (g), Airto Moreira (perc, v, d), Buttt Collins (t), Frank Foster (ts, acl), Stella Mars (v), Joe Shepley (t), Kenny Rupp (trmb), Hermeto Pascoal (f, g, b), Flora Purim (v), Ron Carter (b), Andy Bey (v), Dorio Ferreira (g), Bebeto Jose Souza (b), New York Group Singers' Big Band (Jack Manno cond)

Record Label: Mosaic Records

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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