Various Artists – Ultimate Mancini
(Concord Jazz – 2004)
by Matthew Robinson
In honor of one of America’s greatest living composers, Concord Records has asked Henry Mancini’s daughter Monica and a number of other contemporary stars to offer their takes on his signature songs and sounds. From original takes of “Charade” and “The Thorn Birds Theme” to original reworkings like Stevie Wonder’s “Moon River” (featuring the vocal shimmer of Take 6), Tom Scott’s “Peter Gunn,” and Joey DeFrancesco’s “Mr. Lucky,” this latest Mancini collection combines old and new while maintaining Mancini’s timeless orchestrations and moods.
The younger Mancini makes the most of her father’s work by adding her own vocal touches to such classics as “Days of Wine and Roses” and by pairing up with Kenny Rankin for a Smooth Jazz reworking of “Dreamsville.” Though the album eventually has to come to an end, the Mancinis close with a promise of “Music on the Way.” Such is the promise that has maintained the man for 80 years and that will continue to sustain his music far into the future.
© 2004, M. S. Robinson, ARR