Invocations: Jazz Meets the Symphony #7

Artist: Lalo Schifrin

Produced by: Aleph Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            Coming from a musical family, Argentinean-born Lalo Schifrin was almost fated for a career in music.  His father, Luis Schifrin, was a concert master for the Philharmonic Orchestra of Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colon.  Lalo Schifrin received classical training in music at a young age and later continued his studies at the Paris Conservatory.  He became a jazz pianist, composer and arranger, performing and recording in Europe.  In the 1950s, he formed his own concert band in Buenos Aires, which is where he was noticed by Dizzy Gillespie and asked to be Gillespieís pianist.  Since then, Lalo Schifrin has been blending jazz sounds with the sounds of the various times, adding jazz tones to the musical scores he has created for films like Sudden Impact, Dirty Harry and more. 

            In 1993, he was featured as pianist and conductor for Jazz Meets the Symphony, his on-going series of recordings.  The series combines the sounds of jazz with those of the orchestra.  I recently received the latest album release in this series, Invocations: Jazz Meets Symphony #7.  The album features James Morrison on trumpet, trombone, fluglehorn and piccolo trumpet, Pierre Boussaguet on bass, and Tom Gordon on drums with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lalo Schifrin (who also plays piano for the album) and Kryötof Marek. 

            Invocations: Jazz Meets Symphony #7contains seven tracks musical arrangements of songs from artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Claude Debussy, Christopher Parker, Jr. and Lalo Schifrin.  Each track of music is arranged in the Jazz Meets Symphony style by Lalo Schifrin and range from almost five minutes to nearly sixteen minutes in length.  It all begins with Schifrinís Trombone Fantasy, featuring a trombone solo performed by James Morrison.  He is eventually accompanied by the strains of brass and piano in a nine minute jazz number that began as a bossa nova.  This is followed by James Morrison accepting the helm from Dizzy Gillespie in Grooviní High, a trumpet-centered upbeat tune.  These two tracks are actually my favorite numbers because, despite their origins, they are the epitome of jazz.  Lalo Schifrin is incredibly skilled at taking an orchestral number and arranging it into a jazz tune.  Reverie is perhaps the best example of this skill, as Schifrin takes a concert favorite created by Claude Debussy in the late 1800s and recreates it combining trombone, strings and woodwinds (love those clarinets) to produce a smooth, melodic sound.

            Iíve listened to jazz renditions of numerous forms of music.  My most recent experience was Disney Jazz Volume 1: Everybody Wants to Be a Cat featuring tracks from Disney films re-imagined jazz style.  Invocations: Jazz Meets Symphony #7 does the same thing for orchestral music, re-inventing treasured orchestral songs and making them new again, introducing classics to a whole new set of fans.  Invocations: Jazz Meets Symphony #7 is definitely a must hear for any jazz fan out there.  Kudos to Lalo Schifrin and his fellow musicians for a job well done!


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