Redentor Romero

I'm in the Mood for Love

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Philippine music artist Redentor Romero, who died in 2001, built a strong legacy as a conductor of symphonic orchestras around the world, including the Moscow Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Romero was the Philippines' only international conductor and also founded the country's National Philharmonic Society. In addition, Redentor Romero was also an outstanding violinist and was concertmaster for a number of orchestras, including several in California, before becoming a conductor. Romero easily could have been a jazz artist if so desired, as evidenced by 1989's I'm in the Mood for Love, which features him playing such standards as "As Time Goes By," "Misty," and "The Shadow of Your Smile." The music is an exploration of melodic, traditional-styled jazz, much in the manner of the late renowned violinist Stephane Grappeli. On "As Time Goes By," a song forever linked to the 1942 movie Casablanca, Redentor Romero plays an incisive, romantic introduction, passionately building toward the song's memorable melody. Once he starts the melody, he rarely moves from one note directly to the next, and often navigates a number of twists and turns before taking the next step. He also embellishes upon the original notes of the melody. Later in the song he ventures into parts unknown, improvising elegantly over the chord changes. Another strong performance among many is heard on "Czarjazz." The song begins as a serene duet between piano and Redentor Romero on violin, and then a Dixieland ambience is introduced, a trombone providing counterpart to the violin. The tempo slows again and next up is bebop-styled jazz. This is an excellent, enjoyable, and intelligent album.