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(49:17; Moonjune Records)
As you may have guessed from the title and the artwork, this is indeed a jazz version of one of the truly great albums of all time. This is not the first time I have come across a treatment like this, as 2003’s ‘Dub Side of the Moon’ by Easy Star All-Stars is nothing short of a masterpiece, but it is the first jazz version. Recorded in just two days in 2013, but not released until three years later, this album features Boris Savoldelli (all vocals, vocal noises and electronics), Raffaele Casarano (saxes and electronics) and Marco Bardoscia (double bass and electronics) plus a few guests, including the wonderful Dewa Budjana who plays guitar on “Us and Them”. I sent this album to a mate of mine to gauge his reaction and it is true to say he was horrified, but I don’t think there is any need to be quite that harsh. Although there are some electronics and treated sound in the background, there are no actual keyboards per se, and with guitar on just one track it means the double bass is incredibly important in that it is carrying all the melody, with the attack also providing some percussive elements. The sax provides the solos, often going off at tangents, while Boris’s breathy vocals carry incredible breadth as he definitely uses his voice more as an instrument that “just” singing. The heavy use of bass (which is sometimes double tracked as bowed as well as plucked), along with sax for solos means there are times when this feels like a very old album indeed, predating the original release. I have no idea what this album would sound like to someone who has never come across ‘Dark Side of the Moon” (there must be some people, surely?), as to most of us this is an album we know incredibly well indeed and once one gets past the sheer sacrilege of what has happened it is actually quite enjoyable. They have not played it straight but kept close at times and moved away at others while never losing the feel of the original. One for Floyd and jazz fans to investigate, but it will not be for everyone.
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