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54 Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, August 24, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

The collaboration heard on 54 had its origins back in the 90's when Vince Mendoza asked John Scofield to play on his first album. John has since been featured on two of Vince s records and his guitar sound and improvisational skills work well within Vince s concept. When Mendoza assumed directorship of The Metropole Orchestra, he and Scofield decided to collaborate again with a primary focus on Mendoza s arrangements of Scofield compositions as performed with The Metropole Orchestra. 9 tracks. & Vince Mendoza.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 24, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Universal Music Group
  • ASIN: B003DTPLSG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,671 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Listening to "54" by John Scofield, Vince Mendoza and his 50-some-piece Metropole Orkest, is like popping gourmet jelly beans into your mouth and savoring them one by one. Well, you know how it goes.

I purchased "54" on a whim, partly because of the colorful marbles on the cover (which remind me of the jelly beans), but mostly because I know John Scofield won't disappoint. What I didn't know was "54", a project album by Scofield and Mendoza, would be such a gorgeous, eclectic and playful treat.

A heady, frolicking experience on the first listen, "54" is difficult to pin down. It truly is a marble bag of contemporary jazz: One minute it's a wall of dynamic big band horns, the next it's a liquid jazz guitar run supported by a silky quartet. The orchestra rises up again and gives way to a sullen sax, a muted trumpet and then back to Scofield's guitar, full of grace and bite. You'll hear some mesmerizing piano work, the obligatory brushes on snare, organ parts that sound like they were pulled off a Medeski, Martin & Wood album and the orchestra curiously cranking out what could be mistaken for obscure film scores.

The Metropole Orkest, a Dutch outfit, really brings out the luster in the nine tracks, all but two written by Scofield. After hearing "Honest I Do" and its stunning violin intro, you'll wonder why the strings weren't used more. The horns far outweigh the strings, and to me that's the album's only weak spot.

But that minor flaw aside, the work does have broad appeal. You don't need to be a Scofield fan to appreciate this project, although it's peppered generously with John's guitar.

Looking for a new CD to impress the guests at your next wine-and-cheese gathering? Need a soundtrack to watch the sun go down from your deck? A companion for a rainy-night drive? You found it here.
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Lately I've been finding myself drawn towards recordings that include the exceptional Metropole Orchestra. They usually involve top-notch arrangers/conductors and collaborations with a list jazz players/composers and this album is no exception. John Scofield has penned some very nice tunes which have been arranged by one of the greatest living arranger/composers in jazz, Vince Mendoza. Sco sounds very relaxed and in his element in this lush setting, which also includes several tunes penned by Mendoza himself. These Mendoza originals and were first heard on his classic CD, Instructions Inside. it is only fitting that he should draw from that great second album of his as Scofield was the featured soloist on many of those pieces. It is wonderful to hear how Mendoza has expanded those arrangements for larger ensemble without the least bit of heavy handedness or saccharine sweetness. And because the Metropole Orchestra are so tight and experienced in working with jazz players (in fact many of horn players are also accomplished jazz musicians,) the expanded ensemble still swings or rocks ferociously. One of the tracks on this album won a Grammy this year and deservedly so. I highly recommend this CD in as a lover of third stream music I find that almost anything that involves the Metropole is worth adding to my collection. This one is a particularly worthy addition.
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Format: Audio CD
Every John Scofield release is an interesting listen. This captures Sco with the Metropole Orkest conducted by Vince Mendoza, who also arranges 7 of the tracks;of the others 2 are arranged by Jim McNeely and one by Florian Ross. Vince Mendoza also contributes 2 compositions ; the others are by Sco.
The Metropole Orkest have a clean,sharp and dynamic sound which can blast you out of your seat at times(a good thing). Sco's playing is great and the arrangements are fresh.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Vince Mendoza is one of the most creative arranger/orchestrator/composers in music. Here he collaborates with one of the most creative jazz improvisors in music. The results are excellent.
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Always expect a high level of art and craft from Mendoza and Scofield and on 54 - they deliver. Highly recommended.
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