Heavens:Amadeus & the Duke, a Raphael Imbert project is like Forest Gump’s momma’s box of chocolate— you never know what you’re gonna get, but it’s always pretty good.
Call this a crossover album. It opens with wierd, electronic, squeaky bugs and bats nachtmusik, into which a solo sax riffs uncertain tones, and soon the band is playing 30’s swing with a funky flavour and the tone of sax is like a kazoo. Track 2 goes all Tom Waits whining, carnie, harmonies, and in Track 3 here comes the “Allegretto con variazioni” of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, K. 581: that goes goofy for a bit then the quintet comes back plus a rude, mocking sax, followed by Mozart’s Das Lied der Trennung, K. 519, given a very classy vocal treatment, like the Weil/Brecht “Barbara Song.” I could listen to a whole album of that, but then there’s anguished wailing of sax going crazy, then a soft voiced Pirate Jenny singing of that ship “the black freighter.” There follows sax and congas doing a perp mobile that calms down to a slow and lovely Track 5 that in track 6 explodes into heavily orchestrated song of a falsetto singing “my love my love” over and over with funky big band and gritty solo sax. Track 7 is more Mozart. On track 8, “Introduction/Heaven” a great girl singer, goes uptempo on guitar with drums. 9 is classical violin and then dissonant string quartet with snare drums and human German vocal of very excellent quality excerpting from Mozart’s The Magic Flute. 10 offers broken cabaret sounds from Ellington’s Black and Tan Fantasy. 11 is an intrumental of an Aria by the Commendatore from Mozart’s Don Giovanni entitled A “Cenar Teco,” (“You invited me to dinner”) that sounds, not inappropriately like the killing of chickens. Not a bad thing. That takes us to 12 of the 18 track total here, and you probably got the gist of what I’m feeling, so, end of story. Coda. This is a wonderful ride. Take it any time, if you are bent that way.