I must admit to being a pushover for jazz soloists playing with a backing of strings. Vaché himself says “Everybody really serious about jazz and about music dreams of making a recording with a string ensemble.” And that’s just what he did herewith. He had been retained by Arbors Records to complete an album for cornet and strings that had been started by Ruby Braff, who had died. Shortly after accepting that invitation, Vaché guest-starred at a concert in Glasgow, Scotland, with singer Carol Kidd and a string quartet drawn from the 12-member Scottish Ensemble. The classical string ensemble liked to work with performers out of the classical field, and they suggested Vaché do a CD with strings under his own name. This disc is the result.
Longtime arranger Bill Finegan came out of retirement to create three of the arrangements, and others are by conductor/guitarist James Chirillo, who leads the performers. Added to Vaché and the dozen strings is a trio of piano, bass and drums. The selection of the 11 tracks is superb – this is far from just throwing some strings behind pedestrian readings of the usual jazz standards. There is a tune by Hollywood film score master Erich Korngold and two by David Raksin, the writer of Laura. A Scottish folk song already arranged by Australian classical composer Percy Grainger is adapted, and conductor Chirillo contributes an atmospheric waltz inspired by a painting he saw in Paris. On the final track Vaché puts down his cornet and does a vocal. This is great stuff! I only wish it were a surround SACD with the cornet and piano trio in front and the strings behind.
Tracks: It Was Written in the Stars, My Mistress’ Eyes, Spring, My Love and I, Molly on the Shore, April in My Heart, Valse Prismatique, I Fall in Love Too Easily, Love Is for the Very Young, On the Street Where You Live, Don’t Look Back.
– John Henry