FAME Review: Sachal Studios Orchestra - Jazz and All That: In Memory of Dave Brubeck
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Sachal Studios Orchestra - Jazz and All That: In Memory of Dave Brubeck

Jazz and All That:
In Memory of Dave Brubeck

Sachal Studios Orchestra

Sachal Music - SM 026

Available from October 28, 2013 from Proper Music.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

Walk carefully around this CD's title. Don't think of it as a tribute to Dave Brubeck but rather a memorial to his passing (he left for The Great Gig In The Sky last December) and to his era; seen in that light, the admittedly odd titling isn't unfitting. When Sachal Studios tackled Brubeck's most famous track, Take Five, on their previous release, even Dave was taken aback, calling it the "most interesting and different version" he'd ever heard. In fact, the only Brubeck cut here is his Blue Rondo a la Turk, nor is very much of the CD in Dave's style, much more in the kinda vein that a good deal of old 60s jazz fusion efforts produced from the jazz side of the house, not the rockers: Emil Richards and a mess of others. Sure, some of that ilk of commercial exploitation was buncombe and trash, but don't forget that it's also where the landmark Electronic Eclectics of Dick Hyman and the quintessential The Minotaur erupted.

The promo lit's a bit flaky on Jazz and all That, but if I have it right, the musicians are all from Pakistan, and so the rhythms and instrumentation travel outside Occidental norms: sitar, tabla, dholak, ghatam, moorsing, sarod, etc. along with strings, horns, and more mainstream Western accouterments, all inside raga, ghazal, and other modes, including a heavy dose of pop. That's right, Jazz and All That is a World/jazz/pop collection delivered in period-goofy-cool sonorities that will bring as many chuckles as sighs of pleasure. I think the largest trib to Brubeck is that all these cats had a great time making the music and the style captures a lot of what was going on all around him when Dave was in his prime. But let me say again: this is not Brubeck music.

In fact, I'd class this baby right along with my beloved Lonnie Liston Smith LPs, which I treasure, though I have to field crap from other crits over that stash. There are huge slices of romance, worldliness, metro nights, ocean breezes, cocktails, high gloss adventure, and exotica everywhere. Think Martin Denny, Cal Tjader, Gabor Szabo, Bob James, Esquivel, all those bad boys of the era preceding The Wave music. And those days were a hell of a lot better than Madison Ave. jazz is now. Look at the song roster below. How can you resist? Ya can't, so don't try. The Beatles with Brel with R.E.M. with Mancini and all the rest? It's diabolically cool. And yes, there are some very virtuosic slices all through the CD. We're talking about cats who came from the part of the world where the Carnatic and Arabesqued modes birthed and still survive, marking some of the most sophisticated musical work this planet has ever seen. Even when it's tamed, it's still attractive.

Track List:

  • You've Got It Bad Girl (Stevie Wonder)
  • If You Go Away (Jacques Brel)
  • Moonlight In Vermont (Suessdorf / Blackburn)
  • Monsoon (Wazir Afzal)
  • The Pink Panther (Henry Mancini)
  • Ponteio (Edu Lobo)
  • Eleanor Rigby (Lennon / McCartney)
  • Blue Rondo A La Turk (Dave Brubeck)
  • Kafi Jazz (Five Rivers) (Baqir Abbas)
  • Everybody Hurts (R.E.M.)
  • Wave (A.C. Jobim)
  • To The End Of The World (Metheny / Mays)
  • Morning Has Broken (traditional)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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