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Chuck Gottesman: My Hard Luck Story (And Other Tales of Woe) (2006)

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Chuck Gottesman: My Hard Luck Story (And Other Tales of Woe) How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Chuck Gottesman is a monster. He's well aware that doubling on instruments doesn't automatically mean a musician will grasp the potential of each one. However, his flugelhorn playing is as warm as Art Farmer's, while his trumpet playing seems to sizzle with a different set of ideas, and that's rare in itself. In addition, his skills as an arranger are exceptional. Check out his work on Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," a choice that will presumably have the happy effect of irking a few purists.

Gottesman has also rounded up a crack small group for My Hard Luck Story. The collective effort these players put into the music lifts it out of the frequent ruts of the modern mainstream. This is no "blowing date, but a set that balances blowing against less self-indulgent ends.

Vibraphonist Behn Gillece is perhaps the key to this process, though the rhythm section as a whole strikes a joyous balance between propulsion and understatement. This is most evident on "Lenny Blue," one of Gottesman's pieces, which hints that he might just have a future as a composer of distinction as well. At this point in his career, there's a hint of Benny Golson's work in some of his lines, but as in any other walk of life, the passing of time will allow him to grow into and establish his own distinctive voice.

I hope economics or outside commitments don't get in the way of Gottesman maintaining the band featured on nearly all of this music as a working unit. It's still early, of course, but if potential alone is enough, there's an abundance of good music ahead.


Track Listing: My Hard Luck Story; Indian Summer; Kriegschweine -- War Pigs; Lenny Blue; Sideways Eyes; Stormwatch; North Wind; Separacion; Looking Glass Blues; Red Lament (Live); Caribbean Fire Dance (Live); My Hard Luck Story (Live -- Big Band).

Personnel: Chuck Gottesman: trumpet, flugelhorn; Stephen Selfridge: alto saxophone; Michael Fein: tenor saxophone; Behn Gillece: vibraphone; Maeve Royce: bass; Jim Miller: drums (1-11). Big Band (members unlisted) (12).

Record Label: Dreambox Media

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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