Alternate Takes Week #6: Album for the Week

Herbert Laws' The Rite of Spring

A little late this week, sorry!

This is an album that I have owned for about five years, and I have always wanted to get to it, but never did until today.  This is a big part of why I love doing these weekly album explorations!  What a gorgeous album!  Hubert Laws’ The Rite of Spring is was certainly a worthwhile find.  This 1971 CTI release features Bob James on piano and harpsichord, Jack DeJohnette on drums, Ron Carter on bass and cello, Airto Moreira, and others.  The album is made up entirely of classical interpretations of pieces by Fauré, Stravinsky, Debussy and Bach.  I’m always intrigued by these kind of musical marriages.  Miles and Wynton were two of my earliest examples of orchestral and classical merges in jazz.  This album is strikingly different and I think it has something to do with the era.  We’re talking the 70s here, and I’m willing to bet these classical pieces have never met so much FUNK in their existence!  “Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, First Movement” is as sample-able as any James Brown track.  Well, it is DeJohnette on drums, so that’s not such a surprise!  But, outside of the stellar lineup, there are just really some lovely tunes on this album.  The album opens with a moving interpretation of  Fauré’s “Pavane” which is an album’s worth of a journey alone.  But there are other gems on this very short album (it’s barely over a half-hour) and hearing some of my favorite jazz musicians in this context is always eye-opening.  I appreciate them even more.