Lalo Schrifin and Friends CD – ALEPH 039


So it is as appropriate as it is welcome that this latest Aleph issue focuses on Schifrin the pianist as much as Schifrin the composer. He is joined by ‘Jazz Meets The Symphony’ veteran James Morrison, equally prodigious on trumpet and trombone, and tenorist James Moody, who was a leading light in Dizzy Gillespie’s matchless 1940s Big Band and who subsequently worked with the trumpeter on many other occasions (most notably in the early 1960s in the quintet featuring Schifrin’s successor, Kenny Barron, that I am not alone in thinking Gillespie’s most under sung group). Then there’s Dennis Budimir on guitar, a renowned Los Angeles musician with a warm supple tone reminiscent of Wes Montgomery: he cooks simmeringly while also showing exquisite touch and taste on ballads (in that regard, investigate “Old Friends” in particular). Bassist Brian Bromberg, also resident in LA, has worked with Schifrin and Morrison on a number of club dates; a virtuoso with a huge sound and excellent time, he is as compelling in solo as he is when anchoring the rhythm section. And Peruvian percussionist Alex Acuña is a widely experienced musician (amongst much else, he was with Joe Zawinul’s Weather Report) who has lovely hands, the crispest articulation and is always sensitive to his confrères’ needs and space. Of the nine selections, six are Schifrin tunes. As one would expect, they testify to the rich variety of his writer’s palette and range of mood; as I hope you would now also expect, they equally enshrine the sumptuous quality of his pianism.

– Richard Palmer, 2007