There have been many tribute albums to great rock records but perhaps fewer in a jazz idiom. Two notable ones were Mike Westbrook's Off Abbey Road and Sandy Brown's Hair At It's Hairiest. So this paean to one of the best selling albums of all time, Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon is a welcome experiment.
Boris Savoldelli's earnest, Italian-accented vocals might be slightly discombobulating to listeners used to those of Messrs Roger Waters and Dave Gilmour (especially on "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse") but hardly detract from the production and his humorous spoken intro to "Speak To Me" is terrific. The combination of Savoldelli's vocals, Bardoscia's pizzicato bass and Casarano's plaintive soprano sax, all underpinned by a rhythmic pulse and electronic effects on "Breathe" work very well and evolve into a minor modal masterpiece. The all-pervading sound effects are a brave attempt at replicating the original but although not quite achieving this, (hardly surprising given the resources of EMI and Pink Floyd) they do offer a high level of sophistication and resourcefulness throughout.
"On The Run" is effectively an electronic sound effect-rich link piece following which Savoldelli's lone, affecting vocals introduce "Time," shortly joined by Casarano's on soprano and Bardoscia on sumptuous double-tracked arco and pizzicato bass. The segued "The Great Gig in the Sky/Money" begins quietly with sonorous echo-laden arco bass. Maurizio Nobili's spoken words are evocative and Savoldelli's falsetto vocals are stunningly true to the original version. "Money" comprises a brief, subtly restrained funky interlude before a return to lugubrious double bass.
On the elegiac "Us And Them" Savoldelli delivers an excellent, moody rendition of the song. Towards the end of the number however, the electronic effects sound as though they may have been more informed by "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict," from the Floyd's 1969 live/studio double album Ummagumma. The track is also embellished by some typically lithe guitar from guest Dewa Budjana.
What this extraordinary interpretation spectacularly achieves is an invocation of the true spirit of the original record. It makes listeners reflect carefully on the words and music in a new light and inevitably will invite them to rush to replay the Floyd's version, to appreciate it all the better.
Track Listing: Speak to Me; Breathe; On the Run; Time; The Great Gig in the Sky/Money; Us
and Them; Any Colour You Like; Brain Damage; Eclipse.