It's nothing new for jazz musicians to record songs written for Disney films. Dave Brubeck was already playing a number of them prior to recording Dave Digs Disney in 1957, so it is hardly surprising for him to take part in this 2011 release, which covers a wider scope of songs and features a baker's dozen of jazz artists or groups. Brubeck shines with his rollicking trio treatment of "Some Day My Prince Will Come," a piece he has performed as part of his concert repertoire for decades. He's joined by the expressive vocalist Roberta Gambarini (who joined him to sing the premiere of his "Cannery Row Suite" in 2006), who demonstrates why she has been a favorite of critics with her playful scatting in a swinging performance, while Brubeck proves himself once more as one of the most underrated vocal accompanists. Vocalist Dianne Reeves delivers a soulful rendition of "He's a Tramp" in an unusual, sensual arrangement featuring pianist Peter Martin, while vocalist/bassist Esperanza Spalding sings an enchanting wordless duet of "Chim Chim Cher-Ee" with Gil Goldstein (who is overdubbed on piano and accordion). Nikki Yanofsky was only 15 when she recorded a breezy arrangement of "It's a Small World," scored by bassist Rob Fahie for a swinging septet. Violinist Regina Carter's exotic setting of "Find Yourself" includes Gary Versace on accordion and kora player Yacouba Sissoko combining elements of Eastern and Western music. Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel's intense workout upon the normally low-key "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)" takes it into unfamiliar territory, while trumpeter Roy Hargrove's hip hard bop scoring of "Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat" will be an immediate favorite with Disney fans young and old. With the vast amount of memorable original music written for Disney films, this promising CD series could easily continue for a long time.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden