Dimensions in Sound is one of Stanley Black's weirdest albums. A product of the mid- to late '60s, it taps into contemporary pop culture with "These Boots Are Made for Walking," "A Taste of Honey," "Michelle" (grossly intoned by the London Festival Chorus) and "Alfie" (played on acoustic guitar with sugary strings and oddly detached voices). Black shows off his keyboard chops with a reasonably dignified rendering of Chopin's "Fantasy Impromptu" and a suitably epic take on the music from Exodus; he also demonstrates a marvelously eccentric and creative sense of humor by basing what amounts to an eight-and-a-half-minute piano concerto on the ancient folk ditty "Three Blind Mice." Black's big-band treatment of Billy Strayhorn's "Take the 'A' Train" begins and ends with the sound of a passing subway. A lapse in taste occurs when "La Bamba" opens with embarrassingly contrived pseudo-Mexican dialogue. An almost maniacally humorous sequence occurs at the start of "Money to Burn"; the sound of a cash register is followed by a Cockney voice saying "If I had money to burn, I'd buy me a banjo." Suddenly an invasive team of voices begin chanting "banjo, banjo, gotta have a BANJO" with increasing intensity until one feels the need to get away. Now begins a duet for two banjos with rhythm accompaniment, made strangely disorienting after such a bizarre intro. As for Stanley Black's Tribute to Charlie Chaplin, it feels at times like an Arthur Fiedler production. Chaplin's best comedic moments are invoked during "Morning Promenade," "Titina" and a rather corny "Green Lantern Rag." The rest of the program invokes Chaplin's highly developed powers of wistful sentimentality, a potent emotional force that should not be arbitrarily sneered at (see "Theme from Limelight" and "Who'll Buy My Violets?"). Even so, the regularly employed combination of slippery strings and a gaping choir may seem overindulgent or simply tiresome.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf