Nedley Elstak

Paradise Lost and Regained Suite

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For those whose only exposure to Elstak's music comes from his mid-1960s free music recording on the ESP label, this somewhat commercial-sounding posthumous CD of some of his later compositions may come as a bit of a surprise. Elstak died in 1989 and never realized the documentation of his "Paradise Lost and Regained Suite." This version is a heartfelt effort to record his Suite by full orchestra, including some of the musicians who played with him during his life. Based on John Milton's poetic masterpiece, the Suite uses a full jazz orchestra, complete with seven strings and four vocalists. Considering that the jazz soloists include such heavyweights as saxophonist Willem Breuker, flutist Alex Coke, and trombonist Chris Abelen, the results are somewhat tepid and a bit too smooth. A mixed effort, this CD is an ambitious effort not totally realized.

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