Despite the absolutely generic packaging and lack of credits on the outside of the booklet, Beatle Jazz is not some lightweight, easy rip-off collection played by barely capable studio musicians and designed for a fast buck. The players on this date are all jazz heavyweights who alternate in a couple of different bands:. They include guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Charles Fambrough, pianist Niels Lan Doky, drummer Brian Melvin (who acts as producer here as well), bassist Pierre Boussaguet, harmonica boss Toots Thielemans, keyboardist Dave Kikoski, drummer Karl Jannuska, and bassist Larry Grenadier! The selections range from early material, such as "And I Love Her," and "A Hard Day's Night" to middle and later tunes like "Fool on the Hill," "Julia," "Michelle," "Within You, Without You," and others. Everything here swings, and is used for maximum improvisational purposes within song related form. This is not for lovers of "easy" or contemporary jazz. Melodies are stated in classic hard and post-bop manners and moved away from within the basic context of the tune being played, sometimes returning, some ending up somewhere else. This set was impeccably recorded in Japan, and is one of the great early surprises of the year.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek