quarta-feira, 22 de maio de 2013

Ralph Dollimore - Music for a Special Evening

  1. Reflections
  2. The Fool on the Hill
  3. Here's That Rainy Day
  4. A Man and A Woman
  5. Kulta's Lullaby
  6. One Day Soon
  7. Shades of Blue
  8. Love Is Blue
  9. You and I
  10. Someone to Watch over Me
  11. Waltz for Debbie
  12. Sophia
For a Special Evening

Mood music is a generic and slightly vague and ill-defined phrase that has come into existence during the colossal expansion of the long-playing record market during the past fourteen years. It can be applied to a virtually unlimited range of styles and material played by virtually any size of combination, from a solo instrumentalist to an orchestra of concert or symphonic proportions.

This broad scope of meaning has caused a certain amount of both obscurity and condescension to surround the words 'mood music'. Another phrase, 'musical wallpaper', has gained currency, denoting superficial, undemanding and often nondescript musical fare which is supposed to act as a quiet soporific background to talking and eating without anyone really being conscious or aware that it is there at all, and certainly not listening to it.

Unfortunately a considerable number of LPs classified as 'mood music' fall within this humble and undistinguished category, and tend to stigmatise others that are infinitely superior in every respect such as the one within this sleeve. Mood music in its ideal and most developed from should entertain and stimulate its audience, and at the same time enable them to eat, drink and talk when necessary without distraction. It is not an easy formula to attain, but it represents mood music as it should be, and pianist Ralph Dolimore and record producer Walter Ridley have attained it with this album, assisted by the notable Studio 2 Stereo sound.

Ralph Dollimore, a well-known and widely respected pianist in British light, pop and jazz music, has been playing professionally since he completed his military service with the Royal Tank Regiment in 1951. Ralph is a confirmed jazzman by predilection, and has already starred in that role for a previous album, but his interest and aptitudes are not bounded by narrow, restrictive musical tastes or prejudice. He is a busy and sought-after musician for radio, TV and records, but manages to find time to lead the Ted Heath orchestra nowadays as a continuing entity amidst all his other engagements and commitments. For this LP, Walter Ridley teamed him with ten violins, four 'cellos, one French horn, bass and drums, and selected a well-balanced mixture of standards and originals to demonstrate both the Dollimore piano technique with orchestral support in the aural grandeur of Studio 2, and also the fact that mood music can be meaningful and of much greater value and significance than were wallpaper.

Ole Hoyer's Reflections provides a suitable pensive opening to the album, and is followed by one of the more recent inspirations from the pens of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, characterised by that unique Beatle flair for melody. Jimmy Van Heusen's telling account of love come to grief in Here's That Rainy Day is introduced by the horn before Ralph and the strings take the melody in turn. Francis Lai wrote a simple but memorable theme for a simple memorable film A Man And A Woman, and Ralph accords it a simple but memorable treatment, backed only by bass and drums. The strings and horns return for Kulta's Lullaby, a gently melodic Dollimore original with a relaxed jazz break for Raplh towards the end. The first side concludes with One Day Soon, another distinctive Francis Lai composition for the film I'll Never Forget What's 'is name.

Ralph wrote Shades of Blue, which reflects its title exactly, and the blue motif continues for André Popp's Love Is Blue, which receives an outstanding portrayal from drums in double tempo, a pizzicato pattern from the strings, and Ralph in jazz mood for the middle eight bars and beyond. You and I has a subtly lilting beat, with Ralph sharing thematic honours with the pizzicato violins. Ralph solos throughout George Gershwin's evergreen Someone To Watch Over Me, supported by bass and rums, and Waltz For Debbie shows charmingly that the young lady concerned is both pretty and jazzminded. The LP finishes with trombonist Laddie Busby's musical portrait of another young lady called Sophia, who is obviously of Latin descent and might even have the surname Loren.

This is music for a special evening, and eminently suitable, whether that evening is a romantic one for two, an occasion for a small dinner party, or the quieter wee small hours of relaxation after a big party. In fact, with equal propriety it could justly be called music to make any evening special.

(Nigel Hunter, from the original liner notes) 

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