All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Songs is virtuoso Italian violinist Stefano Pastor's attempt to explore song form through his solo violin, aided only by different sound processors and his voicefeeling the sound of his voice as well as his violin physically, inside his body, and directly, without anything but his own body, as Pastor writes in the liner notes.
On this album, Pastor deconstructs and reconstructs the melodies of six well-known songs in an attempt to claim their melodies as his own. He has the technical sophistication and boundless energy to rearrange the jazz standard of George and Ira Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" into a an impressive and dense technical tour-de-force that does not leave much of the original beautiful and sophisticated melody within these cerebral virtuoso show-offs. The distortion-laden arrangement of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze" proves that a violin can follow the legendary guitarist's exact guitar lines, 45 years after the original performance of the song. The vocal execution pales in comparison to Hendrix's passionate delivery, however.
Pastor shows much more restraint and imagination on his arrangements of two Brazilian songs, "Beatriz" and "Quem è você," where he sings softly and emotionally. J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie's "You Go to My Head" and Charles Mingus' "Duke Ellington's Sound of Love" both receive similar, sensitive arrangements. The use of electronic devices on these songs assists Pastor in transfiguring the sound of the violin, turning his arrangements and elaborate improvisations into a multitude of carefully arranged orchestral sounds.
Songs is an unbalanced work, split between trips of excess and imaginative performances.
Track Listing: I Got Rhythm; Beatriz; Quem è você; You Go to My Head; Purple Haze; Duke Ellington's Sound of Love.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.