Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Deodato - Prelude (1972)

Eumir Deodato started out as an arranger using bossa nova material from his native Brazil. After the military dictatorship took power there, Deodato moved to New York and eventually became known to Creed Taylor through mutual acquaintances. Prelude is most known for the opening track "Also Sprach Zarathustra," an crossover jazz adaptation of the classical piece penned by Richard Strauss and famous at the time of Prelude for its incorporation in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. This track has a lengthy Rhodes introduction that leads to almost transcription of the orchestral piece over a funk groove. Once the orchestral namesake has been covered, the tune goes into a funk breakdown full of solos until the tune comes back to the classical material to close to tune. "Spirit of Summer" is a fairly laidback tune dominated by strings characteristic of the 1970s. Deodato takes a solo on the Fender Rhodes and guitarist Jay Berliner takes a memorable flamenco-tinged solo, which leads into an orchestral outplay. "Carly & Carole" is actually my favorite on the album, probably because it's the most similar to latin jazz music in the same vein. "Carly & Carole" has a lot of influences of bossa nova with the funky Rhodes groove and the melody in the flute. This track also has an extended Rhodes solo by Deodato which really shows off his Latin roots; something not as clear on the other tracks. "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" is an arrangement of a tune from the 1953 music Kismet which is itself borrowed from the second movement of Borodin's String Quartet in D. It is essentially a riff tune with extended solo breaks for guitarist John Tropea, a musician noted for his studio work. "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun" is an adaptation of Debussy's symphonic tone poem of the same name. As far as the classical adaptations go on this album, this is probably the strongest and most developed arrangement (CTI must have thought so to, as it is the track to give its title to the album). This track has marvelous transitions and features trumpeter Marvin Stamm and flutist Hubert Laws during various sections. As far as incorporation of all the musicians, this track is probably the finest because it has the most expansive scope. The album closes with "September 13," another riff based tune which opens up to feature John Tropea. The end tune opens up to include the trumpet and flute sections repeating the groove that underlays the whole tune. This is one of the most successful albums CTI ever had, and it shows the key to CTI's success and demise. While some of the original material and classical adaptations are fine spectacles of musicianship and musical conception, some fall short or are just based on simple riff tunes that don't really develop.