In the Pocket by Jack Bowers
20th Anniversary by Jack BowersMore articles about Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts
The man most responsible for the school’s unassailable reputation for excellence in Jazz Studies is director Bart Marantz, and his star soloist for the past two years has been alto saxophonist Matt Marantz (no relation; the name’s only a coincidence okay, so I’m pulling your leg). The younger Marantz has twice been named best instrumental soloist in Down Beat magazine’s annual survey of the country’s finest high school jazz musicians, and here he shows why, playing with awareness and maturity far beyond his years.
Marantz has to be on his toes to keep pace with his bandmates, especially pianists Frank LoCrasto and Michael Palma, neither of whom is shabby when it comes to resourceful improvising, nor are tenor saxophonist Evan Smith (’01) and guitarist Max Townsley (’02). In fact, everyone in each of the combos is clearly In the Pocket. LoCrasto earned a Down Beat award for his composition “Herbified,” which opens the album, while Palma contributed a couple of well-drawn sketches, “Journey” and “Michael’s Ballad,” for the ’02 combo. The rest of the program consists of standards “East of the Sun,” “Cherokee,” “I Hear a Rhapsody,” “While We’re Young,” “What Is This Thing Called Love” and the scorching “terminator,” Howard Dietz / Arthur Schwartz’s “Alone Together,” with Palma at the Hammond.
As everything was recorded in a studio, we’ve no way of knowing how often editing came into play, but there is one obvious splice at the end of Marantz’s fiery solo on “Cherokee.” Aside from that everything sounds seamless, and unlike Britney Spears or Milli Vanilli, these guys aren’t lip-synching, so what you hear is what they produce and for high school students, what they produce is more often than not astonishing, maintaining the BTW tradition that has produced such talented performers as trumpeter Roy Hargrove and singer Norah Jones, who won five Grammy Awards this year.
Contact: Bart Marantz, 972-925-1251.
Track Listing: 2001 -- Herbified; East of the Sun; Cherokee. 2002 -- I Hear a Rhapsody; While We
Personnel: 2001 -- Evan Smith, tenor sax; Matt Marantz, alto sax; Frank LoCrasto, piano; Alex Molina, bass; Ross Martinez, drums; Jordan Teitelbaum, percussion. 2002 -- Marantz, alto sax; Michael Palma, piano, organ; Max Townsley, guitar; Molina, bass; Martinez, drums; Perry Morris, percussion.
Record Label: BTW
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