Part 6: The arranging, as it is throughout is perfection. Think Stan Getz's Focus with Eddie Sauter. Evans and Smith are well up for it, maybe even surpassing it. The tenor playing is wild, has the beast gone crazy? Has love driven him over the edge? He wouldn't be the first!
Part 7: A melancholy opening, soprano in a romantic mood but, [me] having, belatedly, read the fairy tale (I should have done that first) perhaps it's the discovery that the beast appears to have died of a broken heart due to the object of his affection being late in returning to the castle - aren't they always? Soprano runs the changes like a woman frantic at her loss taking it out on his pet dragon. She didn't care that the beast was ugly - she'd seen beyond that and loved him for his inner self. She cries and that tear lands on his cheek and he is alive again and they both live happily ever after!
That aside, a magnificent achievement by all concerned.
The CD was released in October last year and, if Jazz Journal had invited me to take part in their annual Critics Poll it would have been high on the list.