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Mike Frost Project: Comin’ Straight At Ya’ (2007)

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Mike Frost Project: Comin’ Straight At Ya’ How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

This stellar Chicago organ combo is a swinging sextet from the straight-ahead tradition. Bassist Mark Berls guests on four numbers, giving the Mike Frost Project an even bigger sound. Brothers Mike and Steve Frost have had a lifetime to develop the cohesive sound that they display here. However, it's been a lot more effort than that for the band. They all worked together for over five years to develop the superb cohesiveness that's so prominent on this recommended album.

Tone quality plays a major role in the band's success. On tenor and soprano, Mike Frost delivers a persuasive, clarion tone. The soprano can be a tough one to get used to—I can count on two hands the number of soprano saxophonists whom I enjoy listening to, and still have a few fingers left over. Frost has a captivating tone quality that combines with his spot-on intonation for a beautiful presentation. That puts him into the elite group of soprano saxophonists whom I understand and enjoy.

Trumpeter Steve Frost endows his melodic refrains with considerable expression, never sacrificing soul for technique. He has varied opportunities, too, with up-tempo romps like "Dizzy Atmosphere and slow ballads like McCoy Tyner's "Search for Peace.

The stellar lineup of artists in the Project know each other well. Pianist/organist Tom Vaitsas stretches out frequently and comps with a strong foundation, while guitarist Bill Boris adds lyrical phrases that merge seamlessly. Their easy motion and swinging rhythms are thrilling.

As the album closes with Eddie Harris' "Freedom Jazz Dance, the band's funky strut picks it up a notch. They've got the feeling down pat. At this point, people in the audience would be up and out of their chairs, unwilling to keep still while the music drives 'em harder. Comin' Straight At Ya' can rock your boat and take you for a healthy ride through "where it's at.

Track Listing: Wylie’s Windup; Vicious Dex-o-licious; Little Sunflower; Dizzy Atmosphere; Search for Peace; Wake Up; Star Eyes; Nica’s Winter Waltz; Aw Geez; Midway’s Lament; I’ll Remember April; Freedom Jazz Dance.

Personnel: Mike Frost: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Steve Frost: trumpet, flugelhorn; Bill Boris: guitar; Tom Vaitsas: B3 organ, piano; Tim Mulvenna: percussion, vibraphone; Dave Bernat: drums; Mark Berls: bass.

Record Label: Blujazz Productions

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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