Lalo Schifrin

New Fantasy

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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.

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