Elton Dean & the Wrong Object — The Unbelievable Truth
(Moonjune MJR009, 2007, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-01-01It’s still hard to believe that Brit jazz giant Elton Dean is no longer with us. Considering how alive his performance from fall 2005 is with Belgian band the Wrong Object, it was clearly a joyous opportunity for a seasoned veteran to challenge any new jazz welter weights. The quintet are most notable for their Ed Mann Zappa tributes, and their recent endeavors with trombonist Annie Whitehead and trumpeter Harry Beckett. Cultivating a sympathetic but intuitive dialogue with a capable quintet was a challenge the group was seriously up for. Two Dean classics and one less familiar track are given the “hold your breath and jump” treatment with exceptional results from all players. Both “Seven for Lee” and the more recent composition “Baker’s Treat” carry Dean’s inimitable stamp and the expanded brass arrangement pushes each song across appreciable boundaries. The former piece features Elton in a confident melodic, almost crooning, position with able and perceptive backing, the latter song is more melancholy in nature with lots of space and a sweet chordal development. Dean easily fits into the group’s original material on the warbly title track and guitarist Michel Delville’s piece “Cunningmingus Redux,” which recalls the spirit of Phil Miller’s earliest In Cahoots recordings with a strong Soft Machine Fourth undercurrent. As Aymeric Leroy documents in the liner notes, this was a musical magic moment in time now shared with an appreciative jazz community.
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