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Black Dahlia

12 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 27, 2001
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$60.17 $28.51

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

factory sealed and wrapped--cut on the spine

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Composer, arranger, and tenor saxophonist Bob Belden's 12-part orchestral tribute to Elizabeth Short recalls her as the "Black Dahlia," the dark-haired Hollywood actress who was killed in 1947. In this moving and moody work Belden evokes Miles Davis, Henry Mancini, Chico O'Farrill, and Shorty Rogers. Belden employs an impressive cohort, including trumpeters Tim Hagans and Lew Soloff, tenor saxman Joe Lovano, and pianists Marc Copland and Kevin Hays. In this sprawling score they move from the hyper-speed tempo of "Genesis" and the Sketches of Spain tinges of "Dream World" and "Zanzibar" to the misty Billy Strayhorn-like title track and end with "Elegy," which features a rare tenor sax solo by Belden that recalls the elliptical phrases of Wayne Shorter. With this opus Bob Belden begins this century with inspiration and imagination. --Eugene Holley, Jr.


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 27, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • ASIN: B000059Q88
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,925 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Light a few candles. Pour a glass of wine. Or to really get in the mood, make it two fingers of scotch. Put Black Dahlia on the stereo. Now, put your feet up. Close your eyes. Comfortable? Good, because for the next hour or so, this CD will take you on an "interior" journey through post-war L.A.; your own personal Film Noir, with your own cast of characters and the world's best film set. The one you create in your mind. Travel through the sad life of a young woman who brought her hopes and dreams to L. A., and saw them turn to dust by the winds of fate that blow hard there. Innocence and beauty fell victim just as easily in the 40's as they do now, and Bob Belden, the composer of this "opera without words", knows this all too well. The Black Dahlia was a living breathing dreamer who came to L.A. full of promise and left there only in spirit after dying a terrible death, a murder yet unsolved, leaving that dream yet unfulfilled. Belden re-creates this story, painting a musical picture of post-war L.A. just as vivid as any photograph, just as intense as any book. After listening to this CD you will know the whole story, without reading one line. Black Dahlia has it's roots in blues, jazz, and West Coast Swing of the late '40's, but it blooms in the troubled night of lies, secrets, and fear that is, even now, the seedier side of L.A. Great "reading" for a lonely, rainy L.A.-kind of night.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Allen_TX_Reviewer on September 18, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have listened to this CD over and over. I listen to it at
work with headphones. It's very beautiful, haunting, mysterious.
There are lots of levels to the songs; lots going on. The
percussion, the strings, woodwinds, piano, etc. fit together
perfectly.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By rash67 VINE VOICE on April 29, 2002
Format: Audio CD
As is stated below, Elizabeth Short was a real life actress who came to L.A. with big dreams, and less talent, in the late thirties/ early forties. A striking beautiful, pale woman, she always dressed entirely in black. She had some bit parts. She was out of work. She descended into to twilight L.A. demi-monde. She met a gruesome death, a bizarre murder, still unsolved.

Bob Belden's music is quite successful at evoking the dark mid 40's, murky, moody, boozey environment that surrounded her life like a thick fog. The CD has the feel of a soundtrack for a film noir movie that has yet to filmed. Like "Chinatown", or "L.A. Confidential". But real soundtracks don't have the substance of this set of pieces on a common theme. Evocative. Similar to work by Charlie Haden & The Quartet West.

The trumpet part, as is said elsewhere, is reminescent of the lost-in-a-crowd melancholy of classic early Miles Davis. The orchestration doesn't overwhelm the solo voices. The earlier music starts out perky and upbeat, goes down tempo quickly. The end of the album is a fast Cuban/Latino song, she was last seen at a bar that featured hot latin Jazz, but most songs are dark and moody.

Read up on Elizabeth Short, The Black Dahlia, turn the lights down, close your eyes, turn on the music and watch your own movie in your head!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lancelot on October 5, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Belden's haunting Black Dahlia is bottomlessly smooth, articulate and sophisticated jazz and jazz orchestra which puts you in it's own solitary mood. I love this CD. More contemporary and more stylish the more I listen to it (at first it seemed 50's or 60's ish).
I listen to rhythm and blues, jazz, hip-hop, classical, almost all forms of music. One thing I've learned is that if the music has quality, wit, mood, and tempo, its just great and timeless music. Like this is. Period. If you're looking for an easy, moody, hazy sophistacation, a clear saxophone, strings, harps, and mood mood mood with contemporary sophistication, then this is it. You'll listen to it on the highway or with someone you love on a rainy day. You feel me?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth James Michael MacLean on January 6, 2002
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD is the musical story of Elizabeth Short. The composer became fascinated with the life of a woman who, seeking love and the fulfillment of her dreams, found despair and an early death instead. This story is passionately told.
Although the CD has a music noir feeling running through it, especially cuts 1, 4,5 and 9, there is a lot of other interesting jazz. "In Flight" and "101 North" are real burners. "The Edge of Forever" is a high energy orchestral celebration. "Zanzibar" has a distinctly African flavor. And "Danza d'Amore" is a chance for Joe Lovano to showcase his considerable skills.
All of the cuts have a distinct theme and are there to tell the story. Each has a musical message. I really like the music on this CD and highly recommend it. It's one of my top ten jazz CD's of 2001.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason Jordan on August 9, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Love this idea. Creative, self contained vision. I found a pop/rock song about Beth that you can find on Amazon under the artist name: "James Tipper" on his latest album "Haunted Mind" . Throw this album and Tipper's in your changer and you have the story told from different angles. Pretty cool.
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