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Deodato 2

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Album Review

Deodato's debut for CTI, Prelude, earned him a genuine reputation for funky fusion with its groove-tight cover of "Thus Spake Zarathustra," the theme from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The rest of the album isn't quite as memorable, but it fit the bill and got nice reviews for its innovative read of Borodin and Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun." On 2, the Brazilian composer and arranger dips into the funked-up fusion formula tank once again, and comes out with a more consistent disc than its predecessor. Arranged, conducted, and keyboarded by Deodato himself instead of CTI house arrangers Don Sebesky or Bob James, the maestro enlisted a fusion who's who of sidemen including drummer Billy Cobham, bassist Stanley Clarke, and flutist Hubert Laws, as well as rockers like John Tropea on guitar. The larger ensemble that provides brass, woodwind, and string support includes trumpeter Jon Faddis and Jim Buffington. "Super Strut" kicks it off. Deep-grooved lines of accented angular riffing and rim-shot syncopation by Cobham turn this simply notated four-stepper into a burning ball of greasy rock and souled-out jazz. This is followed by a wildly campy but nonetheless wondrous read of "Rhapsody in Blue" done Stevie Wonder-style. Deodato's keyboard work never lets the groove drop; he pulls the rhythm section down around him and hunkers his phrasing to punch up the long, sweeping horns and string lines. Less successful is a read of "Nights in White Satin," with its overwrought strings, and a "Pavane for a Dead Princess" that's a snore. The album officially closes with "Skyscrapers," another jazz-rock rave-up that blasts holes in the sonic sky with its dueling keyboard and guitar lines. [The remastered version of the CD includes three bonus tracks that include a steamy little bossa nova number, "Latin Flute," with Laws tearing up the solo spot, and a lounge lizard's dream of a cover version in Steely Dan's "Do It Again," with flutes and keys trading the melody lines and Tropea's wah-wah guitars chunking up the backbeat. Why this wasn't on the original album or a follow-up is a mystery.]

Biography

Born: 22 June 1942 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Eumir Deodato has participated as pianist/keyboardist, producer, or arranger in over 450 albums, and has won 16 platinum records. The list of top artists with whom he has collaborated is too extensive to cite, but includes Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jobim, Wes Montgomery, João Donato, Kool & the Gang (group with which he played between 1979 and 1983), Earth, Wind & Fire, and Michael Franks. He has also worked on the soundtracks of major films, like The Onion Field, The Exorcist, and...
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