"A Hot Night In Paris" - Phil Collins' Big Band jazz album. Reviewed by Alan Hewitt.
As many of you may remember from my review of Phil's Big Band shows; I was not at all convinced about his switch to Jazz before I actually attended the show. Well, now at last, comes the souvenir from that most enjoyable of tours.
With an almost three hour show to choose from, the choice of tracks for a single disc is of necessity going to disappoint some people who will find their "favourites" may have been left off the disc. Nevertheless, what is here will certainly give the lie to anyone who thought (myself included, initially) that Phil couldn’t cut it with this most difficult of musical styles. The album opens in an upbeat mood with the funky "Sussudio", which certainly swings in the true Big Band Jazz style and which is, in turn, followed by the amusing rendition of "That's All", and a truly awesome version of "Invisible Touch".
The only weak link in the set, and one which Phil even admitted to being such in his introduction to it at the shows, is a surprising inclusion on this set. "Hold On My Heart", sad to say, does not lend itself to the jazz treatment and is definitely the weakest track on this set - sorry, Phil! "Chips And Salsa" give the band a chance to cut loose and there are some truly glorious moments during this performance. "I Don't Care Anymore" is, to my ears, a very adequately workmalike version, and "Milestones" certainly stands out as a great performance.
"Against All Odds" couldn't possibly fail to excite, whatever style it is played in, and this version is no exception and the contrast between the drama of this track and the humour of the one that follows it: "Pick Up The Pieces", only serves to show exactly how wide a range of emotions Jazz can convey. However, the closing track is the one which really steals the show. "The Los Endos Suite" is AMAZING. When I heard it at the gig, I couldn't believe my ears, and it has to be said; I still can't. It is absolutely superb and if that doesn't convert you to the Big Band, then you are either deaf or dead, or probably both!