Jaz Coleman

Riders on the Storm: The Doors Concerto

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There's always an air of pretentiousness that accompanies classical performances of pop and rock classics, and most performances are quickly dismissed to the muzak-filled realms of elevators and doctor's waiting rooms. The fact that classical violinist Nigel Kennedy has dropped his first name for this set (to become Kennedy) doesn't bode well. Which makes it all the more surprising that this collection is quite good. Teaming up with producer Jaz Coleman (who has previously reworked Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin in the same vein) and the Prague Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy's violin replaces the vocals of Jim Morrison. Fortunately, lurking underneath Kennedy's guise as a rebel lies the thing which first brought him so much attention: his ability to play exquisite music, both technically and emotionally. Coleman's arrangements bring new depth to the music; at times the results bear little in common with the originals (such as "Riders on the Storm" and "People Are Strange"); nonetheless, they're fascinating musical excursions best approached with an open mind. Some tracks, such as the simple pop classic "Light My Fire," would have been better left alone and cry out for Morrison's passionate vocals rather than the melancholic strains of the violin; nonetheless, this collection makes for a good listen in an oftentimes difficult genre.

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