- Audio CD (29 July 1996)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Soundtrack
- Label: Polygram
- ASIN: B00000470T
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 185,487 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
|1. Blues In The Dark - James Rushing|
|2. Moten Swing - Buster Moten|
|3. I Surrender Dear - Harry Barris|
|4. Queer Notions - Coleman Hawkins|
|5. Lullaby of the Leaves - Bernice Petkere|
|6. I Left My Baby - Andy Gibson|
|7. Yeah, Man - Noble Sissle|
|8. Froggy Bottom - John Williams|
|9. Solitude - Duke Ellington|
|10. Pagin' The Devil - Walter Page|
|11. Lafayette - Ed Durham|
|12. Solitude - Duke Ellington|
Hence, how do you solve the problem? Do you play ancient jazz with exactly the same sound and accents (horrible) or do you use modern tricks (maybe kitsch)? Do you repeat note-by-note the original solos or do you play new improvised ones on top of the old arrangements? There have been various attempts: for instance, Lennie Niehaus' system in Clint Eastwood "Bird" to electronically remove ancient rhythm sections and superimpose Parker's solos on new rhythm sections (interesting but terrible). Tavernier with Dexter Gordon in "Round Midnight" skipped the problem and recorded new music.
In "Kansas City", instead, we have a fresh approach: that of letting modern jazzmen interpret those pieces. It is clear they pay their dues to the pioneers - the swing and freshness is there to testify this - but at the same time they are not shy about showing off their modern techniques and mastery of the overtones - especially tenor saxophonists, like Joshua Redman and James Carter, the latter being fond of mingling with the elders. Hence, it is as if they had created a virtual, parallel Kansas City of 1934, which is distinct from the real one, but claims the same letters of credit (this reviewer has embarked in the exercise of compiling a CD with the original pieces recorded in the 30's and it is worth one's while to do the comparison).
Thus, also the re-created battle between Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young (with the interpreters mentioned above) has to be taken with a grain of salt: it's a fantasy, the ancient ones did not play that way, but the relationship between the two, to some degree, holds.
The music is fascinating and stands on its own, but the fact that it represents an attempt of re-creating originals without neither diluting nor betraying their spirit gives to this CD an extra quality that makes it unique.
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