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Album Review

BeatleJazz: With a Little Help from Our Friends

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BeatleJazz: With a Little Help from Our Friends
With its third album of reinterpreted songs associated with the era of the Beatles, this sterling piano trio (plus guests) explores spiritual themes and poignant melodies that have long been tucked away in our mind's library of influential music. Both the latter, mystical period and the earlier, blue collar, everyday affair with the Beatles are included here.

Michael Brecker soars spiritually on "Working Class Hero," with strong ties to the memory of John Coltrane. Randy Brecker weaves a pleasant muted thread through "Imagine" that honors the memory of Miles. Similarly, Mike Stern and John Scofield each contribute two features that combine mainstream jazz with the Beatles' popular appeal. Throughout their performance, David Kikoski and his trio ooze with fresh sounds that put the leading edge in modern mainstream jazz.

"Strawberry Fields Forever" moves slowly with deep expression as Kikoski's piano interprets the song artfully. There's a strong sense of majesty to it. Bass and drums add a dimension of power that won't let go. Both of Stern's features pump a blues feeling into their interpretations. His expressive guitar weeps like no other as he works with BeatleJazz to unleash the feelings that have come to us with these familiar songs.

"Lovely Rita" swings with a timeless, foot-tappin' energy that surrounds its landscape with straight-ahead jazz celebrations. It's a happy song, and the trio gives it an appropriate celebratory note. "The End" surges forward with a positive message. Recall that its original lyrics remind you that "In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

BeatleJazz gives the song an upbeat palette that colors the day with glowing thoughts and bright sunshine. We need a little help from our friends to maintain that kind of a disposition day after day. Our true friends are real people and real music.

Track Listing

1. Yes It Is 2. Piggies 3. Imagine 4. Strawberry Fields Forever 5. I Will 6. Working Class Hero 7. A Hard Day's Night 8. Across the Universe 9. Lovely Rita 10. And I Love Her 11. The End 12. Chains

Personnel

Brian Melvin: drums, tabla; Dave Kikoski: piano, synthesizer; Larry Grenadier: bass (#1-2,4-5,8-9); Boris Koslov: bass (#3,6-7,10); John Scofield: guitar (#2,5); Mike Brecker: tenor saxophone (#6); Mike Stern: guitar (#7,10); Randy Brecker: trumpet (#3)

Album information

Title: With a Little Help From Our Friends | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Lightyear Entertainment

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