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5.31.2005 

album of the week


lalo schifrin
1966

This is a hard-swinging album in which Schifrin invents or borrows 18th-century classical themes and sets them into big band or small-combo contexts. Such is Schifrin's chameleonic mastery that his own inventions are a match for the themes of the period, and he is tasteful enough not to overload the window dressing and keep the rhythm section loosely swinging nearly all the time. Once, Lalo tries something wacky; on "Beneath a Weeping Window Shade," he has singer Rose Marie Jun intoning a madrigal-like Francis Hopkinson song against some avant-garde multiphonic flute from Jerome Richardson, ministrations from a string quintet, and Schifrin's own comments on harpsichord. There is also a stimulating pastiche "Aria" that sounds like Schifrin arguing with Heitor Villa-Lobos and Henry Purcell in 9/8 time. With the cream of New York's jazz session men of the '60s on board -- including the inimitable Grady Tate on drums, Richardson on flute and tenor, Gene Bertoncini on guitar, and J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding on trombones -- and Creed Taylor's production dictating the distinctive timbres, jazz buffs will have a fine time with this collision of the centuries, which leans heavily to the jazz side.

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