Ever notice how The James Bond Theme is really just the collision of the Peter Gunn Theme and the Pink Panther Theme Song? You will when you hear Daniel Lantz and the gents in his trio play it, with Roger Nordling sitting in on sax, carrying the lead line. John Barry & Hal David were no fools, knowing good product when they stole it, and I never quite noticed the theft until I caught this version of the song. Lantz is a pianist, and his idea of an entire disc dedicated to James Bond movie themes is a great one. No clue why no one ever did it before, but I'm glad it was tackled now.
Then there's the infamous Goldfinger song, here with a long intro segueing into a pensée sneaking the well-known refrain in so that, instead of dominating the track, it complements what Lantz has turned into an Impressionistic jazz nocturne. The apex, when it appears (you know, that "GOLDFINGER!!!! He's the man, the man with the…blah blah blah" thingamajig), becomes not a strident brassy shouter but instead an angular coloration. Way cool. And it was wise not to have singer Sani Gamedze, otherwise featured on a half-dozen cuts, appear on the track, 'cause you'd have to be a Mrs. Miller to out-shout the original chanteuse, Shirley Bassey. As Tomorrow Never Dies clearly demonstrates, Sani was meant for Dionne Warwick / Gladys Knight fare, at which she excels and in clear ringing tones, a lark hopping from branch to branch, warbling and longing for a lover.
Live and Let Die becomes a caprice, Lantz again deconstructing just enough to let us know how beautifully simple passages can work and become emblematic, but, man, what he does with the song once the groundwork is established is what makes everything in the CD so damned attractive. Bassist Erik Ojala steps into the forefront as the piano lays back, providing us with a triple-sweet four-string solo undercutting and forwarding the dynamics. The progression the song undergoes will endear it to progrockers, and jazzbos will be smiling like kids. Even classicalists will take to the post-Romantic aspects, Debussy himself foot-tapping in the Great Beyond.
I suppose I could step sideways into expounding upon the Bond genre per se, remarking that only Connery and Craig have ever portrayed the suavely gritty Fleming creation properly (I mean, Jesus!, why not O'Toole or Pee-Wee Herman if you're gonna go with Moore and Brosnan?, is there no God in Heaven?), but, no, let me reserve that venom for another time and just dig the hell out of Plays Bond. You Only Live Twice just now swam into my ears in intriguing fashion, and though Lantz has been compared to Evans and Jarrett, which is VERY fair, I'm still saying "Uh-uh!". What he's really doing is what Christopher O'Riley should've done to Radiohead…and didn't. Oh, and what Klugh produced on his glorious Trio, Vol. 1? That's where Lantz and crew are at. In a different way.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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