Henry Mancini is without a doubt one of the most prolific and award-winning composers of our time. With Ultimate Mancini Concord Records celebrates "The Year of Mancini by recording a tribute to some of his best-known repertoire. Tributes are a hard nut to crack, as they are usually poorly thought out attempts to make some quick sales. However, Concord enlists Henry Mancini's daughter Monica to not only perform on the recording, but bring loving care and respect to the album. Also evident is the fact that the approach to compiling material and musicians reflects consideration of which artists Henry Mancini would have wanted on the recording date if they were being recorded today. This approach makes for one of the best tribute recordings in recent history.
From the outset, the high quality and "cool" approach of Mancini is laid out on his timeless "The Pink Panther Theme. The ensemble plays it straight and Joey DeFrancesco and Plas Johnson add tone, color and depth. A bit of a more jazz/looser approach is taken with "The Peter Gunn Theme, featuring lead alto saxophone by Tom Scott. But my overall favorite has to be the harmonica of none other than Stevie Wonder on Mancini's moody and placid "Moon River. Add to that the beautiful vocal arrangement and performance of Take 6 and you have one of the best recordings of this classic. The entire piece just inspires the thought that Henry Mancini himself must love the recording.
Recommending a tribute recording is not a common occurrence; however, when one is so well thought out, executed and packaged, it must be recognized. Henry Mancini's career and his contributions to music may take more than the "year" allotted to him, but one of the best places to start would be this recording of a respectful tip of the hat by some of the top musicians, studio professionals and his very talented daughter Monica.
Track Listing: 1. The Pink Panther Theme
3. Two for the Road
4. Moon River
5. Moment to Moment
6. Days of Wine and Roses
7. Peter Gunn Theme
9. Dear Heart
10. The Thorn Birds Theme
11. Anywhere the Heart Goes
12. Mr. Lucky
13. Whistling in the Dark
14. Life in the Looking Glass
15. Crazy World
16. It?s Easy to Say
17. Music on the Way
Joey De Francesco.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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