Jazz CD Reviews

Edward Ratliff – Those Moments Before – Studelmedia
John Dankworth and his Orchestra – Movies ‘n’ Me (1974) – Vacalion

An interesting pair of light jazz discs stimulated by movies.

Published on August 22, 2012

Edward Ratliff – Those Moments Before – Studelmedia </br> John Dankworth and his Orchestra – Movies ‘n’ Me (1974) – Vacalion

Edward Ratliff – Those Moments Before [TrackList follows] – Studelmedia SMCD-011, 59:19 ****:

(Raliff – accordion, cornet, trumpet, trombone, celeste, programming; Michael Attias & Beth Schneck – saxes; West Matthews – keyboards; Sean Conly – acoustic and elec. bass; Take Toriyama, drums)

John Dankworth and his Orchestra – Movies ‘n’ Me (1974) – [TrackList follows] – Vocalion CDSML 8469 (Distr. by Harmonia mundi) ****:

Though Edward Ratliff is based in NYC, his CD has a strong European jazz slant. It might be called cinematic small-ensemble music. He mentions how he loves movie-going, and also the variety of diverse cultures he is exposed to in NYC. He also plays a diverse group of instruments. The first track immortalizes a coffee bar at the Barcelona airport, another a TV series, and the final track was inspired by a Hong Kong gung fu flick. The raucous Funeral March pays tribute to the band’s former drummer, who died shortly after this album was recorded.

Veloce is a wildly-stated number with a Klezmer approach, while Good Question is a solo piano number that reminded me a bit of Thelonious Monk.  Some tracks show a tango influence, and others have the instrumentation of Kurt Weill selection. A couple of the selections reduce the instrumentation to a jazz trio (once with the combination of accordion, soprano sax and doublebass). Each track has a different sound, due to the variety of writing and instrumentation. Each one also has a paragraph in the note booklet.


1. Café Cortado 5:55 2. End of an Era 7:25 3. Minimus 4:13 4. Movin’ On Over 5:45 5. Veloce 7:03 6. Good Question 3:30 7. Well-Dressed and Elegant 5:35 8. Leon’s Last Night 6:19 9. Funeral March in the style of Jean-Baptiste de Lully 2:39 10. March for a Lost Cause 2:45 11. Kowloon Noir 6:13 12. Pinhole Ghost

All 11 tracks in the second CD were written by the late British saxist/bandleader and husband of Cleo Lane. Although the original themes were not very jazzy, Dankworth arranged the tunes to fit his big band heard on this disc. The two themes opening the CD should be immediately familiar: The first is the theme from Modesty Blaise and the second from Darling. Not all of the tracks are movie music; the stimuli for “East St. Louis Boogaloo” and “Herbie Walks Again” are fairly obvious. The theme from the Dirk Bogarde film The Servant makes me want to see that one again. The final two tracks are from BBC-TV series we didn’t get to see here in the U.S.  This album originally was issued on LP in 1974, and has been very successfully remastered for this CD reissue.

Modesty Blaise, Darling, Morgan, Return from the Ashes, All Gone, East St. Louis Boogaloo, Roundtable Round, Herbi Walks Again, Long John, Look Stranger, Whirly Birly

—John Henry

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