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Another Bite Of The Apple by BeatleJazz

Once you've come up with a winning idea, it makes sense to stay with it. And that's what BeatleJazz--a.k.a. Dave Kikoski, Charles Fambrough and Brian Melvin--have done on its second CD dedicated to the music of The Beatles.

It may be difficult for the MTV generation to understand the impact that The Beatles had on, not only the music of the 1960's, but also its culture. Inspirational and controversial, The Beatles were at the forefront of the cultural change from Kennedy idealism to Johnson cynicism, not to mention the psychedelic ramifications that resulted. What may have been lost in the adulation and criticism is the melodic simplicity and appeal of The Beatles' music. The three members of BeatleJazz are of that generation and remember The Beatles' impact. Just as important, they appreciate the music.

The idea of drummer Brian Melvin, BeatleJazz started with a tentative first album, A Bit Of The Apple, in 2000. Slowly seeping into the listening public's consciousness and expanding its message through increasing distribution, BeatleJazz was encouraged.

Now, Another Bite Of The Apple extends the group's concept by applying its reharmonization of Beatles' tunes. While all three members of the group are responsible for the uniqueness of the sound, pianist Kikoski in particular carries it off so well with the flow of his ideas, not to mention the sweep of his technique. The last number, Tomorrow Never Knows, showcases all three members individually. Kikoski suggests suspense with his rubato chorus based upon lurking pedal tones, Melvin carries the suggestion into a controlled frenzy of hand drumming, and Fambrough then picks up the beat with his bass lines that support the feel for the rest of the tune.

The other interpretations on Another Bite Of The Apple include a calypso treatment of "Let It Be" that one wouldn't be surprised to find in Monty Alexander's repertoire, a dynamic bop-derived perspective of "Blue Jay Way," a sustaining of the pauses on "Blackbird" that mixes relaxation with tension, a Tynerish jazz waltz feel for, yes, "Magical Mystery Tour" and a modified rock feel for "Give Me Love."

While one might think that the Beatles concept might wear thin, BeatleJazz' rethinking of the well-known tunes concentrates on the infinite possibilites contained within jazz as it revives standards. In BeatleJazz' case, the standards happen to be those of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: BeatleJazz
  • CD Title: Another Bite Of The Apple
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Zebra
  • Rating: Four Stars
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