By j. poet | Published April 2017
Walt Disney isn’t the first celebrity you think of when you hear the word jazz, but he was a lifelong fan of the music and took great care when hiring composers for his films. Listeners of a certain age will be familiar with most of these songs, but this all-star compilation avoids the taint of nostalgia with arrangements that reinvent even the most familiar tunes.
Stacey Kent sings “Bibbidi Bobbodo Boo” in French, with the band slipping into a soft bossa nova groove. A live string section provides romantic accents to set up a Jim Tomlinson saxophone solo that dances around the melody without getting too far-out. Gregory Porter phrases the opening verse of “When You Wish Upon A Star” like Nat “King” Cole, before slipping into his own warm, open tones. Anne Sila brings a fiery exuberance to her rendition of “Let It Go,” a tune from Frozen that’s rather sedate in the film.
Laika’s take on “Once Upon A Dream” is both hopeful and forlorn, and Glenn Patscha’s moody piano and Ira Coleman’s understated standup bass give it the feel of a smoky, late-night jazz standard. “I Wanna Be Like You,” from The Jungle Book, gets two treatments. The Hot Sardines provide a swinging, gypsy jazz-meets-Dixieland version, and Raphaël Gualazzi brings a touch of Latin jazz to a take highlighted by a playful piano solo and a carefree vocal.
Jazz Loves Disney: Everybody Wants To Be A Cat; He’s A Tramp; Bibbidi Bobbodo Boo; When You Wish Upon A Star; Why Don’t You Do Right; I Wanna Be Like You; A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes; You’ve Got A Friend In Me; Let It Go; The Bare Necessities; Once Upon A Dream; Un Jour Mon Prince Viendra, I Wanna Be Like You. (48:01)
Personnel: Jamie Cullum (1), Melody Gardot (2, 11), Stacey Kent (3), Gregory Porter (4), China Moses (5), Raphaël Gualazzi (6, 11), Hugh Coltman (8), Anne Sila (9), Laika, vocals; Nikki Yanofsky (12); The Rob Mounsey Orchestra (7); Elizabeth Bougerol (13), vocals; The Hot Sardines (13); Glenn Patscha, piano; Ira Coleman, bass; Jim Tomlinson, saxophone (2).