Martial Solal: Martial Solal Dodecaband Plays Ellington (2002)
His 12-piece Dodecaband does things to Duke's music that others would never dare. Instead of showcasing his talents of re-interpretation at the keyboards, he reconfigures Ellington through arrangements. Depending on your stance on the Ellingtonian canon, you will either be delighted at this recording or just plain peeved. Strayhorn might have arranged things just so for Harry Carney or Johnny Hodges. Solal noting the passing for these often-imitated giants goes about converting "Satin Doll from a dance number into something you watch (and listen to) carefully. Likewise he rearranges "It Don't Mean A Thing so it takes about 3 minutes into the song before it swings, and then only in snatches and sidelong passes at the melody. This flyby is not taken in the avant-garde tradition. Solal is making sure he puts his stamp on the music. The band plays the tight, quick changing arrangements with plenty of skill and zip. I guess I'd expect a reconstruction like this to be more likely as a solo or trio project. The more adventurous jazz listener will certainly appreciate Solal's reinterpretation of Ellington.
Track Listing: Satin Doll. Caravan. In a Sentimental Mood. It Don't Mean a Thing. Take the 'A' Train. Medley: Cotton Tail; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; Things Ain't What They Used to Be; Take the 'A' Train; Prelude to a Kiss; Sophisticated Lady; I Got It Bad; Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me.
Personnel: Martial Solal: piano, arranger; Tony Russo: trumpet; Roger Guerin: trumpet; Eric LeLann: trumpet; Denis LeLoup: trombone; Jacques Bolognesi: trombone; Didier Havet: tuba; Jean-Louis Chautemps: reeds; Sylvain Beuf: reeds; Jean-Pierre Solves; reeds; Patrice Caratini: bass; Francois Merville: drums; Umberto Pagini: drums.
Record Label: Dreyfus Records