How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
Brass man Mac Gollehon means business on Mac Straight Ahead. The ten tracks on this album present Gollehon in a variety of settings and on a variety of instruments...at the same time. While the idea of overdubbing oneself on record is fraught with peril, Gollehon beats the odds. Sometimes he conjures sounds of a full, brassy big band, while other settings pare things down to a few instrumental voices. Though trumpet might be his main axe, Gollehon plays better trombone (and French horn) than most players on the scene today, and his diverse experienceshaving played in the Buddy Rich
, and his stratospheric flights find a place on the large majority of these songs.
This "Lush Life" has a bit more forward momentum than some renditions, and Gollehon's trumpet work, along with some stellar soli runs, make for an intriguing listen. The title track is Gollehon's first original on the album and organist Greg Kogan makes things simmer right from the start. Bassist Ron McClure
underscores the opening of "Carol's Song" with some fat half notes that are simple, yet well-suited to this piece and some swanky, rich brass voicings give way to a slightly noir-ish sensibility on this burnished ballad. Gollehon and company turn up the heat on "Strange Behavior," which begins with the leader's bone work dancing atop Victor Lewis
' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat." Gollehon's trombone and Cuber's baritone saxophone sizzle here and this dirge-like composition is transformed into a dirty, blues-drenched beauty. While Mac Straight Ahead is far from a one-man show, Gollehon proves to be a jack of all trades and a master of everything.
Track Listing: Fish Market; Round Midnight; Lush Life; Mac Straight Ahead; Carol's Song; Strange Behavior; You're My Thrill; After You've Gone; The Good Life; Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.
Personnel: Mac Gollehon: trumpet, trombone; Sam Burtis: bass trombone; Victor Lewis: drums; Warren Smith: drums; Jun Saito: drums; Ron Cuber: baritone saxophone; Greg Kogan: organ; Ron McLure: bass.