Well before his Jazz Meets the Symphony series of the 1990s, Lalo Schifrin tried something similar in 1964 -- only this time, he was content to place 20th century classical themes into a strictly big-band jazz setting on this LP. With this somewhat simpler goal in mind, Schifrin often succeeds brilliantly in his own big-band idiom, loaded with trademarks that would pop up in some of his better film and TV scores. One can see some inevitability in some of his choices of idiom -- translating Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 into bossa nova, Gershwin's "Prelude #2" into a sauntering workout, Richard Rodgers' "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" into a blaring jazz waltz, and more -- but you'll never recognize the old "Peanut Vendor" in this tense, driving disguise. Schifrin has a ripping big band with French horns and tuba at his disposal, consisting of top New York studio jazzers including J.J. Johnson, who gets a lot of solo room, Kai Winding, Jerome Richardson, and Clark Terry, who execute the leader's charts with panache, pushed hard by Grady Tate's drums.
New Fantasy Review
by Richard S. Ginell