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466045 Columbia France, CD

  1. Blue Rondo A La Turk
  2. My Own True Love
  3. Singing In The Rain
  4. Charmaine
  5. Tea For Two
  6. Mack The Knife
  7. Prestissimo
  8. Syracuse
  9. Take Five
  10. Desafinado
  11. Louise
  12. New York, New York

This was probably the fourth of some five original albums from the 1985-9 period when Maestro Caravelli was experimenting with a creative reinvention of classics of popular song from the world music charts and from Broadway, Latin catalogues and the Jazz Age.

This album sparkles because Caravelli treated every song with tremendous imagination with the help – according to the liner notes – of Serge Planchon, Gil Gambus and Patrick Vasori. Patrick is of course the son of Claude Vasori – Mr Caravelli himself.

The title of this album evokes the jazz tunes of the 30s, 50s and early 60s. Blue Rondo might be jarring initially to listeners unaccustomed to jazz but this is Caravelli taking you on a bold musical departure, teasing the listener with the less familiar, but staying close to the melodic core of the tune with plenty of lush string sound. Then there is Take Five – another tribute to Dave Brubeck's Quartet – Louise, Syracuse and the ever hummable Mack the Knife. The orchestra is still extremely melodious and pop instrumental in its soul.

For that reason alone, Caravelli's fans will adore this musical adventure. This trip to jazz land is balanced with a few brilliant arrangements of pop and Broadway standards like Charmaine, Tea for Two, Singing in the Rain, New York, New York and the nod to Bossa nova paradise – Desafinado. Caravelli keeps to his 80s styling so fans enamoured with his tribute album to Julio Iglesias, the ONLY YOU album and RAINBOW will find this album a treasure to be added to one’s collection. Charmaine is one of my personal favourites as he takes the song far away from its trademark Mantovani arrangement towards something more intimately ‘sung’ with flute, bassoon, guitar and wall to wall strings to keep that 'swooning' magic. Mack the Knife, Syracuse and Desafinado are arranged for dancers with their fusion of neo-polka and jazz ballet rhythms, upgraded for the 80s. There is enough familiarity within these classic songs to avoid alienating Caravelli fans from the 60s and 70s.

Like Caravelli's companion 1988 album TENDERLY, the maestro sure knows how to wow old fans while attracting news ones from the 1980s!