Brazilian born Emuir Deodato is primarily remembered for his 1972 orchestral recording of Also Sprach Zarathustra, the Richard Strauss composition that was known as the theme from the Movie 2001. Deodato adapted the Strauss composition from symphonic form to more contemporary tastes with his insistent and creative electronic piano, John Tropea’s twisting, rock-toned guitar solo, Stanley Clarke’s electric bass solo, and the latin flavored percussion of Airto and Ray Barretto.
Deodato’s recording of the Strauss theme was a Grammy winner in 1974 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. Not a bad achievement for someone who as a teenager working for a local rock band was asked to arrange for a recording session orchestra. By 1967, he had moved to the United States, and wrote for American studios and was contributing arrangements for Astrud Gilberto, contributed three charts to Wes Montgomery's Down Here on the Ground, and was soon working for major names in several fields including Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Frank Sinatra.
As part of the celebration of CTI’s 40th Anniversary, Sony Masterworks has issued Prelude, the album that included Also Sprach Zarathustra and was CTI’s biggest hit. Remastered from the original two-track audio tapes, it presents the familiar Strauss number with five other instrumentals. Spirit of Summer is one of his compositions that is a lovely big band number with an Jay Berliner acoustic guitar solo and I( assume Hubert Laws taking) a short flute break. Carly and Carole, has a playful feel opening with a lovely flute ensemble and Deodato’s electric piano to state the theme over the percussion before Deodato takes an engaging and dreamy solo.
Ron Carter in on acoustic bass for much of this release except is on electric bass for the bouncy Baubles, Bangles and Beads as Billy Cobham, on drums, keeps the groove moving while Tropea adds some driving guitar in addition to Deodato’s imaginative and lively arrangement. Hubert Laws is featured on Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, first setting the mood on the opening moments and taking the initial solo when the performance speeds up. The disc concludes with the funky September 13 that Deodato and Billy Cobham collaborated on. The rhythm section provides a strong, percolating groove over which the horns and guitarist Tropea make statements.
Prelude was Deodato’s most successful recording displaying his marvelous arrangements in addition to a superb studio orchestra. He would produce other albums, none as successful as this and later worked more as an arranger and producer with the likes of Kool & the Gang. While this reissue is relatively short (a tad over 32 minutes for the six performances), it is another example of the wonderful audio qualities of CTI recordings that enhance listening to the music included.
My review copy was provided by a publicist for the release.