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Grace Kelly with Strings: At the Movies

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Grace Kelly with Strings: At the Movies
Saxophonist Grace Kelly, who some years ago graduated from the Child Prodigy class in which she was a prominent member, has entered her third decade by recording for the first time with a string-based orchestra. The theme is At the Movies, and Kelly opens with a James Bond medley and closes with five themes from Walt Disney films.

Besides playing soprano, alto, tenor and baritone sax, Kelly further shows her versatility by singing on more than half a dozen of the sixteen numbers. While she says the album was inspired by the foundational Charlie Parker with Strings, "any resemblance," as the film credits like to say, "to albums past or present is purely coincidental." As there is an abundance of wonderful film music dating to the introduction of sound, why Kelly would choose to open with James Bond and "He's a Pirate" (from Pirates of the Caribbean) is a head-scratcher—but it is Kelly's recording date, and she is entitled to open it any way she pleases.

On the other hand, that music suffers greatly by comparison to what follows, Jerome Kern's marvelous "The Way You Look Tonight" and a medley of songs by the great Ennio Morricone. Even Cole Porter's "True Love" (sung in the film High Society by Bing Crosby and that other Grace Kelly), while hardly a classic, easily outshines such curious choices as "Soul Bossa Nova"—on which guest trumpeter Sean Jones solos—"By the Grave" or "The Power of Love." Charlie Parker never took such uneemly detours, nor did he try to sing. Even the Disney songs (save for the lovely "When You Wish Upon a Star") may arguably be far more popular than well-written.

As for Kelly's singing, the less said the better. Suffice to say she impresses more with a reed in her mouth. The strings, although present on every number, do not play the sort of pivotal role as in Parker's seminal album, ceding that central position to Kelly's saxophones and voice. In the end, what is heralded in principle as a tribute to Charlie Parker with Strings sounds far less so in practice. This is in every way Grace Kelly's album, and the strings are about the only thing it has in common with Parker's incomparable recordings from 1949-50. .

Track Listing

James Bond Medley; He’s a Pirate; The Way You Look Tonight; Ennio Morricone Medley; True Love; Soul Bossa Nova; Moon River; Mission: Impossible Theme; The Flying Theme; By the Grave; The Power of Love; When You Wish Upon a Star; I Wan’na Be Like You; Go the Distance; Part of Your World.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Grace Kelly: alto, soprano, tenor, baritone sax, vocals; Bryan Carter: conductor; Eli Bishop: guitar, tenor banjo, mandolin, mandolindo; Tamir Hendelman: piano; John Schroeder: acoustic, electric guitar; Pasha Riger (10), Cory Wong (11), Shaun Richardson (12): electric guitar (11); Cooper Appelt: bass, electric bass; Adam Bravo: synth programming; Jake Reed: drums, percussion; Sean Jones: trumpet (6). Strings: Eli Bishop: violin, cello; Steve Chiu, Haruka Horii, Camille Miller, Grace Rodgers, Leah Zeger: violin; Lauren Elizabeth Baba, Eli Bishop, Halley Walterman: viola; Emily Nelson Rogers, Ro Rowan, Simone Vitucci: cello.

Album information

Title: At the Movies | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Self Produced


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