Format: Compact Disc
Released Date: September 22, 2000
Style: Jazz Instrument
Number of Discs: 0
Label Name: Dreyfus Records
Personnel: Martial Solal (piano); Jean-Pierre Solves (baritone saxophone, flute); Jean-Louis Chautemps, Sylvain Beuf (saxophone); Tony Russo, Roger Guerin, Eric Le Lann (trumpet); Denis Leloup, Jacques Bolognesi (trombone); Didier Havet (tuba); Patrice Caratini (acoustic bass); Francois Merville, Umberto Pagnini (drums).
Recorded at Studio 105, Paris, France from December 26-28, 1997. Includes liner notes by Martial Solal.
Incredibly, both at the time this was recorded and when it was released, the very fine French pianist and outstanding arranger Martial Solal was barely a blip on the radar screen in the United States, despite decades of output. Here, he produces one of the best dedications to Duke Ellington ever with total reworkings of some of the Duke's most famous compositions. Solal writes that his goal was "...to show, by means of well-known pieces, that the job of the arranger is actually a compositional task." In this, he succeeds. By transforming such classics of the jazz repertoire as "Satin Doll," "Caravan," and "Take the 'A' Train," Solal's 12-piece (13 on "'A' Train") "Dodecaband" is the pianist's main instrument, his piano a close second. Snippets of melody are interweaved among entirely new constructs that retain the spirit of the originals but nonetheless offer new perspectives on the pieces. These are not simple arrangements but highly complex, thoroughly compelling works of art. Although the band had been around for more than a decade when this was recorded, few if any of its members -- other than Solal -- were likely to be recognized outside of France. The relatively few solo improvisations are first-rate, but it is Solal who steals the show here, as well, with characteristically inventive and original creations that offer endless streams of ideas. His arrangements are the centerpiece, and deservedly so. ~ Steven Loewy