Мелодия - Произведения Дюка Эллингтона Играет Ансамбль «Мелодия» (1978)

  • review
  • jazz
  • jazz-funk
  • fusion

Today I'm reviewing 'Произведения Дюка Эллингтона Играет Ансамбль «Мелодия»' (which roughly translates to: Duke Ellington's Works by The Melodiya Ensemble) by Мелодия (Melodiya). Мелодия is an instrumental jazz band which was founded from members of the disbanded Concert jazz orchestra of Soviet radio and central TV in 1973. This album was released during the height of the succes of the USSR in 1977 and has been released on the label with the same name as the performing group: Мелодия https://www.discogs.com/%D0%9C%D0%B5%D0%BB%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%B8%D1%8F-%D0%9F%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%B8%D0%B7%D0%B2%D0%B5%D0%B4%D0%B5%D0%BD%D0%B8%D1%8F-%D0%94%D1%8E%D0%BA%D0%B0-%D0%AD%D0%BB%D0%BB%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%B3%D1%82%D0%BE%D0%BD%D0%B0-%D0%98%D0%B3%D1%80%D0%B0%D0%B5%D1%82-%D0%90%D0%BD%D1%81%D0%B0%D0%BC%D0%B1%D0%BB%D1%8C-/master/433605. This particular label was - at the time of release - still a state owned record label. Which meant that bands and artists who wanted to criticize the crurrent government or say something which wasn't in line with their train of thought, could be censored. For this release there's no problem on the horizon since this record is fully instrumental.

This record only features 5 tracks with varying track lengths ranging from relatively short: 4 minutes to quiet lengthy: 11 minutes. I find the recording quality to be good and the pieces composed by Duke Ellington are quite well re-interpreted. I like how dense the bass, the drums and the percussion are recorded in combination with the horn players. There's one track that really stands out to me on this whole album, and that is "Это Ничего Не Значит". A track which features these odd electronic effects making it lean towards something more experimental. It's also a little bit more free-spirited than the other tracks, which are a bit more traditional yet funky.

The biggest downside for this album, to me, is the fact that it doesn't quite strike me that much. In other words: I like how it's played but I don't love it; the record doesn't blow me away. It could be that all the tracks are really similar or that the tracks never become really hard hitters. It's technically and production wise a good album - I'm not arguing that - but it simply doesn't peak creatively, except for the third track on the A-side.

'Произведения Дюка Эллингтона Играет Ансамбль «Мелодия»' by the Мелодия ensemble is a decent record. It has all the elements for a good jazz record, but it simply never peaks. There's a single track which features some space for more instrumental experimentation, but it's the only track where this occurs. The other tracks all lack this daring pursuit, maybe due to the fact that this wasn't accepted at the time of the USSR or maybe it simply wasn't likeable. [5.6/10]

Published on: Jan 27, 2018 by Gerard - list of changes