Thursday, February 28, 2008

Duke Pearson - Mosaic Select 8, Disc 1 (Mosaic, 2003)

I received this disc through a trade on, and the only problem with trading for milt-disc sets is that people only send you one disc. So this disc is something of an orphan, without discs 2 & 3 or the the fine liner notes that accompany a Mosaic set. Regardless, the music is quite good, consisting of the Pearson albums The Phantom and I Don't Care Who Knows It. Pearson is mostly remembered as an arranger and an A&R man for Blue Note, so this set gives a fine opportunity to remember his compositions and playing as well. Combining the trademark Blue Note hard-bop style with elements of Brazilian, Caribbean and Latin music, and arranging the music for interesting ensembles featuring flute, vibes, percussion and guitar, all of which give the music a light and nimble sound. The tracks I enjoyed the most include "The Phantom" which holds up well over considerable length with a slow and appropriately spooky sound. The vibes and flute float around, adding to the atmospheric nature of the music. "The Moana Surf" ups the ante with percussive piano and vibes and strong swirling flute making for the most aggressive music on the disc. A few tracks feature vocals, both scatted and sung which add to the exotica niche of the music, but are really secondary to the fine sounds being laid down by the bands. On the whole, the music presented here is intricate and well played. The more exotic elements of the music are blended artfully and there's never any sense of adhering to fad. I enjoyed this disc and look forward to tracking down the remaining two CD's in this set.

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