From Slavic Soul Party!, A Match Made In High-Concept Heaven The latest album from the Brooklyn-based Balkan party band is a rearrangement of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's Far East Suite.
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From Slavic Soul Party!, A Match Made In High-Concept Heaven

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From Slavic Soul Party!, A Match Made In High-Concept Heaven

Review

Music Reviews

From Slavic Soul Party!, A Match Made In High-Concept Heaven

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Now for an unexpected update of a jazz classic.

(SOUNDBITE OF DUKE ELLINGTON SONG, "MOUNT HARISSA")

MCEVERS: In 1963, Duke Ellington and his orchestra went on a jazz diplomacy tour of the Middle East sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Inspired by the experience, Ellington and composer Billy Strayhorn wrote a collection of songs called the "Far East Suite." Now nearly 50 years later, the New York brass band Slavic Soul Party! has reinterpreted it. Reviewer Tom Moon says it's more than a novelty.

(SOUNDBITE OF SLAVIC SOUL PARTY! SONG, "MOUNT HARISSA")

TOM MOON, BYLINE: Here we have a match made in high-concept heaven or maybe Brooklyn - a rambunctious Balkan party band reinterpreting the earthy yet endlessly sophisticated music of Duke Ellington.

(SOUNDBITE OF SLAVIC SOUL PARTY! SONG, "ISFAHAN")

MOON: Somehow this mash-up avoids touristy exotica. Starting with rhythms you'd hear on the street or at a Balkan wedding, the nine musicians give these majestic Ellington melodies a shot of adrenaline.

(SOUNDBITE OF SLAVIC SOUL PARTY! SONG, "DEPK")

MOON: What's most impressive? Slavic Soul Party! did this live on a single night. They've taken a beloved big band score, reconfigured it for a much smaller group and then executed it with precision and dazzling energy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SLAVIC SOUL PARTY! SONG, "TOURIST POINT OF VIEW")

MCEVERS: The album is called "Slavic Soul Party Plays Duke Ellington's Far East Suite." Our reviewer is Tom Moon.

(SOUNDBITE OF SLAVIC SOUL PARTY! SONG, "TOURIST POINT OF VIEW")

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