Saturday, November 10, 2007

David Axelrod live at Royal Festival Hall

These are my sensations , my feelings about an incredible DVD concert I received from David Axelrod son , together with the Jazzmotel interview answers I send Him some time ago ...
David Axelrod is for me a living legend , His way to see the music is for me so Deep and Intelligent that I was in trouble to ask Him questions for the interview you gonna read very soon ..
It was like a kind of interview to Enoch or Moses or some other "Patriarcas" as we say in Italy .
I was very happy to get the oportunity to make a Jazzmotel style review , I really hope you enjoy it and starts , if you are not already doing it , dig into Axelrod discography cause you will find many many archetypes , style lessions and pure sensations and Deep conversations and interpretations ,
Belive me !



When I received this DVD/CD after contacting Dana Axelrod for an interview with his father (the genius David Axelrod) I decided there and then to write a sort of review so as to give my contribution and spread the word for this disc which again confirms the genius of this composer and arranger who has contributed so much to the history of Jazz.

To start with a little history , David Axelrod was born in Los Angeles in 1936. He begins early to write complex scores, orchestrations and arrangements which will bring him to define that Jazz-Funk sound with rock undertones that will make him one of the most in demand arrangers and producers of the jazz, soul, funk and rock scene from 1959 through 1999 and the present day.

Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, Funk Inc., Lou Rawls, Don Randy, David McCallum, Clara Ward, The Electric Prunes and Letta Mbulu are a few of the artists that Axelrod has produced and arranged , Capitol, Warner Bros, and Prestige a few of the labels with which he has collaborated.

His records have helped to create the Hip-Hop and Trip-Hop sound and have been the source of inspiration for a new generation of musicians, influencing the styles of electronic and contemporary music amongst others.
David Axelrod is considered a genius for his interpretations of the works of William Blake and for creating a sound that to this day is contemporary, or rather, timeless.

The first thing I thought before viewing is: “Has Axelrod kept that lean sparse sound, those linear rhythms of “Song of Innocence” and “Song of Experience”?
The answer is yes , for sure ...

The chosen venue for this event is the Royal Festival Hall in London, a structure of modern architecture, situated between Waterloo and Hungerford Bridge which highlights the English passion for the past, the present and the future. A perfect combination for the music of David Axelrod.

The Hall is buzzing .Musicians, DJ’s, people form the entertainment industry and ordinary fans are waiting for an event that hasn’t been seen in 25 years; David Axelrod will direct an orchestra of 26 musicians and will perform the songs that have helped to create his legend.
Axelrod looks like a high preacher and from his “pulpit” starts to introduce this event recorded in 2005.

The Orchestra is composed of 6 Violins, 2 Violas, 2 Cellos, an Oboe, a Cor Anglais/Piccolo, 2 Saxes, a Clarinet, 2 Trumpets, a Trombone and a solid rhythm section, essential for the Axelrod sound: Double-Bass, Drums, 2 Guitars, Percussion, Vibraphone, Acoustic piano, Electric piano, Organ and a Harpsichord.

The concert begins with a Psycho Jazz re-arrangement of “Paint it Black”, especially created for this event as a tribute to the land of the Rolling Stones. From this first piece you quickly begin to understand and in the same time you have the confirm of the ability to re-arrange that Axelrod possesses. The piece is practically unrecognizable and incredible.

Axelrod seems almost to enjoy directing the orchestra. I have to say that from what I see he his able to put the musicians at ease. On the other hand, to be directed by a living legend can’t be an everyday occurrence, and for this reason the orchestra (composed of young but very competent musicians) shows good participation and perception , moving to the music and at times almost dancing to the “Beats of Axe”. Axelrod introduces The Edge "sampled by DR Dre " by stating “I hate samples” (a note to the lovers of sampled Axelrod)...

The show’s setlist comprises all his compositions from the late 60’s and early 70’s. Songs like “Holy Thursday” and “Unizen”, form “Song of Innocence”, “London”, “The Human Abstract” from “Song of Experience”, and onto “Holy Are You” taken from the album “Release from the Oath” by the “Electric Prunes” sung by the fantastic voice of an emotional and passionate Richard Ashcroft.

“The Sick Rose”, “Smile”, “Tensity” and “So Low” the only new Axelrod piece, brings London and its theater down in a nocturnal atmosphere reminiscent of Blake.
The concert is brought to an end with “Norwegian Wood”, another tribute to an English band, which confirms the deep respect that Axelrod holds for this country.
The whole concert is an alternation of straight Funky Beats , full Orchestration patterns and Deep inpirational moments wich is the perfect main line of all the best Axelrod works .
“David Axelrod Live at The Royal Festival Hall” will contribute to further your collection with intelligent, profound, baroque and timeless orchestral sounds.

I suggest you go to the Axelrod website and maybe commence your collection of his jazz works.

I hope this my review helps you to know a little more of this incredible Artist .
Be ready for the interview wich is coming pretty soon !
Love from Jazzmotel

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