enjoyable, though not original

More Jazz Meets the Symphony (Atlantic Jazz)
Lalo Schifrin and the London Philharmonic

By Todd Hildreth

The title of this recording is somewhat misleading. Jazz has met the symphony before – not just in a previous recording by Schifrin, but by artists as diverse as Dave Brubeck, John McLaughlin and John Lewis. It's not a historically groundbreaking idea.

And musically, it's all been done before. We've heard those licks from the soloists before. We've heard those symphonic devices before. One piece, "Sketches of Miles," borrows heavily from the Gil Evans / Miles Davis collaborations. It's not a musically groundbreaking recording either.

Groundbreaking or not, it's still enjoyable. Pianist/composer/arranger Lalo Schifrin has assembled a top-notch group of jazz musicians and combined them with one of the world's leading orchestras, and with finely crafted arrangements, has come up with a very nice collection of music. Fans of traditional jazz and the symphony alike will find something to like about this recording. Joining Schifrin for the jazz ensemble are bassist Ray Brown, drummer Grady Tate, trumpeters Jon Faddis and James Morrison and saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera. As a pianist, Schifrin is tasteful and sustains interest.

Coordinating an entire orchestra with a small jazz combo can pose a variety of problems, but Schifrin pulls it off beautifully. This is not a deep or wildly innovative recording, but it is cleverly done and quite enjoyable.