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Polyester suits, platform shoes and big hairstyles were in vogue during the 1970's when being cool meant looking the part in spite of the outlandish attire. The music was equally flamboyant and among the many bands, the Australia/ England based Bee Gees, brothers (Barry, Maurice, and Robin Gibb) produced a string of top hits at the height of the Disco era. Canadian jazz trumpeter Darren Barrett shakes the cobwebs off of a few of the group's oldiesbut still goodiesin this tribute release that brings back memories with a renewed jazz flavor.
Barrett's approach to this selection is suave and tempered, thankfully eschewing the Bee Gees Saturday Night Fever soundtrack numbers like "Staying Alive" for mid-tempo tunes such as "More Than a Woman" which integrates electronic strings, lithe keyboards and a groovy solo improvisation at the song's end. The music's beckoning to the dance floor is present with an effervescent tropical rhythm in "I Started a Joke" and the honeyed rendition of the classic love song "Too Much Heaven." Barrett's mellifluous horn is front and center and warmly expressive, yet never overstated or watered down.
There are enjoyable momentsthe neo-soulful "How Deep is Your Love" and the Bee Gee's 1983 Country hit "Islands in the Stream" yet a misstep in the slightly campy vocal version of "I Started a Joke" which sounds a bit too radio-friendly. But all is forgiven with the album's closer, a sexy redo of the popular hit "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart." From the bluesy guitar picks and chords, the floating organ undercurrent and the trumpet crooning of song's lyrics, it will make you want to gently squeeze your significant other or drown yourself in a sea of tears. Barrett does the Bee Gees right.
Track Listing: More Than A Woman; I Started A Joke; Too Much Heaven; Islands In A Stream; How Deep Is Your Love; I Started A Joke (Vocal); Words; How Do You Mend A Broken Heart.
Personnel: Darren Barrett: trumpet; Meari Nam: Fender Rhodes; Chad Selph: auxiliary keyboards; Luka Veselinovic: bass; Kyle Miles: bass (6); Jordan Rose: drums; Judith Barrett: percussion.
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.