280

Various artists: A Jazz Portrait Of Brian Wilson - Wouldnt It Be Nice

Mark Sabbatini By

Sign in to view read count
Various artists: This is definitely no day at the beach.



Whether that's good or bad is highly subjective for A Jazz Portrait Of Brian Wilson, a 17-song tribute by contemporary artists such as Don Grusin, the Clark Burroughs Group and The Yellowjackets. Originally a 1997 Blue Note release, it was remastered and rereleased by IN2N Entertainment in 2004. Those not expecting instrumentals close in form to the Beach Boys leader will hear interesting ideas at work. But there's no question it will earn scorn from some loyalists - and at times it's understandable.



As a standalone project, it's an above-average modern jazz sampler and can be played as such - a roomful of listeners didn't make the Wilson connection until told. But producer and guitarist Tim Weston, who calls Wilson's music the "film score for his childhood and adolescence, says he's long wanted to capture its underappreciated compositional and lyrical elements. Weston chose a number of lesser-known pieces and focuses largely on the Pet Sounds era, "a time many people consider to Brian's most creative.



Artists are mostly matched well with songs and performances seem fueled by genuine artistry rather than contrivance. Vocalist Marilyn Scott intertwines well with pianist Russell Ferrante on a version of "In My Room that blends elements of straight-ahead, lounge and soundtrack. Vince Mendoza arranges a strong eight-minute orchestra arrangement of "Don't Talk (Put You Head On My Shoulder), with guitarist John Abercrombe leading the dark "motion picture interpretation. A welcome interlude throughout are five "cameo pieces by Burroughs' acapella group between 30 seconds and two minutes long, enough to be entertaining without the novelty wearing off.



Reworking a legend like Wilson is guaranteed to offend a certain number of loyalists, no matter how well performed. Those considering themselves likely candidates may want to audition vocalist Jeffrey Osborne's work on the title track, a generic pop-beat soul ballad arrangement which unfortunately makes it one of the album's most recognizable and least creative offerings. Among the other substandard contributions is Dori Caymmi's largely unintelligible bass vocals on a lounge-paced mildly Brazilian version of "Caroline No. Guitarist Steve Khan does OK within a standard Latin smooth jazz beat on "Don't Worry Baby, and having vocalist Gabriela Anders sing in Spanish is intriguing in theory, but it's a cumulative canvas of unremarkable background noise.



As for Weston, he and vocalist Shelby Flint lead a somber rendition of "The Warmth Of The Sun, saying the arrangement was influenced by learning it was written the night after President Kennedy's assassination. It's a bit sleepy - much like Wilson's version - and Weston's solo isn't remarkable in originality, but there's definitely an emotional quality of someone wanting to pay tribute. If Wilson's fans accept the album in such a mindset - a genuine, if not perfect, labor of love - then a similar sense of satisfaction and appreciation which Weston seeks is likely to achieve its purpose.


Track Listing: Surfer Girl (Prelude) - Don Grusin; Surfer Girl (Version) - Don Grusin; Can't Wait Too Long - Clark Burroughs Group; Wouldn't It Be Nice - Jeffrey Osborne; 'Til I Die - Elements; The Warmth of the Sun - Tim Weston/Shelby Flint; I Just Wasn't Made for These Times - Larry Carlton; In My Room - Marilyn Scott; I Went to Sleep - Clark Burroughs Group; Caroline No - Dori Caymmi; Our Sweet Love/Friends - Eliane Elias; Cabin Essence - Clark Burroughs Group; Don't Worry Baby (No Te Preocupes Nena) - Steve Khan/Gabriela Anders; God Only Knows - The Yellowjackets; Surf's Up - Clark Boroughs Group; Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder) - Vince Mendoza/John Abercrombie; 'Til I Die - Clark Burroughs Group

Personnel: Lead performers listed after song titles

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: IN2N Entertainment Group | Style: Contemporary/Smooth


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!" CD/LP/Track Review Getting All The Evil Of The Piston Collar!
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 3, 2016
Read "Heavy Feel" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Feel
by Doug Collette
Published: May 21, 2016
Read "Beam Me Up" CD/LP/Track Review Beam Me Up
by Dave Wayne
Published: April 21, 2016
Read "Altered Narratives" CD/LP/Track Review Altered Narratives
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 2, 2016
Read "Of Sound Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Of Sound Mind
by Budd Kopman
Published: September 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!