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July/August 2005

The Frank Collett Trio
All God's Chillun Got Rhythm
Fresh Sound Records

Just when you think that everyone deserving of jazz tributes has gotten their day in the sun, along comes All God's Chillun Got Rhythm: The Film Music of Bronislaw Kaper. While no household name, as, say, John Williams is today, Kaper was a distinguished Hollywood composer who delivered at least three tunes that have since become jazz standards: "Invitation," "On Green Dolphin Street" and the title song, as well as other enduring compositions including "While My Lady Sleeps" (memorably recorded by John Coltrane) and "Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo."

Frank Collett, a swinging veteran once associated with Shelly Manne and Carmen McRae, makes a convincing case for Kaper's recognition, displaying the lyrical essence and sturdy harmonic backbone that distinguish the composer's strongest work. Collett and company-the intuitive team of bassist Tom Warrington and drummer Joe La Barbera is subtlety itself-find vital things to say on such unlikely material as "Love Song" from Mutiny on the Bounty (a tropical swinger just right for Sonny Rollins). "Gloria" and "The Color of Love," two other film score obscurities both given lovely unadorned solo reading, would have little problem slipping into contemporary performance rotation.

By peeking into dusty corners, Collett has uncovered a treasure trove of prime material-an inspiration, hopefully, for other inquisitive and intrepid mainstreamers.

Originally published in July/August 2005
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