Jeff Newell's New-Trad Octet: Brownstone (2007)
The Octet is comprised of an interesting timbral mixture of improvisers, from trumpeter John Bailey's post-bop flourishes against Newell's motific lyricism, the effects-laden electric guitar of David Phelps against the soft modernistic piano of Tricia Woods, to the thumping bass of Tom Hubbard against tuba player Marcus Rojas. Together, they provide Newell with a stark palette of broad contrasts to heighten the sense of journey between one musical feel to the next.
For the tenth track, Newell is joined by a completely new octet, this time made up of fellow Chicagoans including trumpeter Orbert Davis, for a rendition of the iconic John Newton work, "Amazing Grace . It is interesting to hear Newell's part writing really fall into place as some of the stiffness and intonation problems that crop up previously in the record evaporate when played by his hometown crew. The album closes out on a Newell original, "Fill the Temple , a hard grooving gospel number with Karl Dixon and Janis Russel on vocals.
Hymnals and marches represent some of the earliest examples of music that could be defined as identifiably American and Newell approaches this material with the veracity of an ethnomusicologist but with the spirit of an adventurer.
Track Listing: Stars & Stripes Forever; The Lambs March; The Washington Post; Hymn Pan Alley Suite p.1 March; Hymn Pan Alley Suite p.2 Bolero; Hymn Pan Alley Suite p.3 Mambo; Hymn Pan Alley Suite p.4 Waltz; Hymn Pan Alley Suite p.5 Zydeco; Hymn Pan Alley Suite p.6 Reprise; Amazing Grace; Fill The Temple.
Personnel: Jeff Newell: saxophone; John Baily: trumpet (1-9, 11); J. Walter Hawkes: trombone (1-9, 11); Marcus Rojas: tuba (1-9, 11); Dave Phelps: guitar (1-9, 11); Tom Hubbard: bass (1-9, 11); Tricia Woods (1-9, 11): keyboards; Brian Woodruff (1-9, 11): drums; Orbert Davis: trumpet (10); Ryan Shultz: bass trumpet (10); Dan Anderson: tuba (10); John McLean: guitar (10); Tim Fox: bass (10); Karl Montzka: keyboards (10); Rick Vitek: drums (10). Track 11 Personnel: Karl Dixon, Janis Russel: vocals.
Record Label: Blujazz Productions
Style: Dixieland/New Orleans/Swing