Thursday, January 4, 2024

Album Review: Deadjazz - Plays The Music of The Grateful Dead

Plays The Music of The Grateful Dead
*** out of *****

This Paris based outfit Deadjazz does just what it's title states as it Plays The Music of The Grateful Dead with a jazz twist. 

The group is comprised of Lionel Belmondo, tenor and soprano saxophone, flutes, arrangements, Stéphane Belmondo, trumpet, flugelhorn, effects, Laurent Fickelson, Farfisa organ, Fender Rhodes, Eric Legnini, Fender Rhodes, Novation Bass Station, Thomas Bramerie, double bass, Dré Pallemaerts, drums, tambourine and the crew get after it. 

The opening "China Cat Sunflower" starts out fairly direct, playing to the songs melody and tempo then things shift as a warbling sax solo takes off, electro funky keys get loose and the tune leads to a big climax to finish, starting the album off strong. Less successful is the weepy torch ballad/light jazz delivered on "Stella Blue" and the outfits bright and cheery take on "St Stephan>The Eleven" which never takes hold. 

The group twist "Dark Star" into a funky upbeat number that is lead by the crisp drumming as more electro keys and saxophones color the fringes. The slow, easy rolling groove of the bands take on "Fire On The Mountain" is pleasant as is the closing "Rosemary" with it's soft sonic tones. The free jazz finds it's weird way forward on "Blues for Allah" which weaves and wanders ominously before a Dixieland jazz like ending.  

The best of the bunch though is the groups take on "Bird Song". The fresh and crisp drumming again stands out, keeping the song moving forward while bras easily flows in and out around more keyboard work. A standout that takes inspiration from the Dead's live take of this song with Branford Marsalis, but also puts it's own spin on it. 

A fun twist on the Grateful Dead's catalog, Deadjazz's Plays The Music of The Grateful Dead allows fans to arrive at these time honored songs from a different, yet still somewhat familiar angle. 

Support the artists, buy the album, peep some video below:

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