Release Date: 2005
The Mark Kramer Trio
|5.||Family Portrait (Prologue)||6:22|
|6.||Nimbus 2000 (Quiddich)||4:34|
|8.||Harry's Wondrous World - Part 1||5:23|
|9.||Harry's Wondrous World - Part 2||3:08|
|10.||Harry's Wondrous World (Quiddich Theme)||4:19|
|Total Album Time:||56:24|
|by Rafael Ruiz
December 20, 2005
What is it about John Williams that encourages some many tribute albums? The percentage of quirky covers of his material out numbers his competitors combined. I've heard string quartets of his work, marching bands, a cappella versions, even Kazoos arrangements. And let's not even start on Meco.
Of all the covers I've heard, this one is pretty straight forward. It's a series of jazz pieces based on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The Mark Kramer Trio, a Philadelphia Jazz group takes key tracks from the soundtrack release and re-interprets them within a David Brubeck vibe.
What makes a cover (of anything) interesting is the re-examination of familiar music, creating new patterns and meanings within the different context. Taking the magical Romanticism of Harry Potter and turning it into low-key jazz is definitely different and it works. "Diagon Alley" becomes a light jazz march. In "Harry's Wondrous World - Part 2", the descending high strings and xylophone become a desperate descending piano rhythm, more contemplative than cheerful. "Voldermort's" evil motif is now a mellow and soothing mood piece.
For several tracks, this is interesting and fun. But the Trio relies on the same trick, over and over again and gets old fast. The best cover album I've ever heard was Mozart TV, where every track was a theme of famous TV show performed with a different classical influence. While that is not what the Mark Kramer Trio is trying to accomplish, a little variety would have spiced up the album. What we have is an odd novelty which is clever but in the end not clever enough.
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