Mark Rapp's Melting Pot: Good Eats (2011)
Good Eats could reference trumpeter Mark Rapp's New Orleans heritage, where po-boys, seasoned craw fish, and jambalaya reign supreme. Add some Big Easy-style funk and there is a perfect party setting that provides credence to the city that care forgot adage. Rapp pays homage to alto sax titan Lou Donaldson, who incorporated blues, soul, and funk into the bebop idiom. The band's delivery of modern jazz improvisation and exploratory movements translucently merge with these largely, toe-tapping pieces. Rapp also includes an upbeat spin on Quincy Jones' theme song ("Streetbeater") for the '70s TV comedy Sanford & Son, starring Redd Fox.
The artists reveal a variety of emotive aspects on Donaldson's "Brother Soul," highlighted by Rapp's spirited phrasings and sleek line of attack in concert with Joe Kaplowitz's shadowy Hammond B3 voicings. One of the core attributes of the program relates to the musicians' penchant for spicing up familiar terrain with off-kilter digressions, accentuated with brisk unison choruses and loose groove dialogs, swinging and dishing out snappy pulses to complement the tuneful hooks. Rapp also injects some Miles Davis-style licks atop a subtle swing vamp on Donaldson's "One Cylinder."
Guitarist Ahmad Mansour adds sinewy lines and animated chord developments to the agenda and the estimable saxophonist and flutist Don Braden performs on six tracks. With "Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On)," they inject cheery vocals over a funkified B3 combo motif, punctuated by drummer Klemens Marktl's firm and popping backbeats.
Rapp ups the ante some. Mercifully, he embraces these works with a modernist's flair and doesn't dwell on the past by not providing a literal rehash of the tried and true. Integrated with memorable story lines and a few atmospheric excursions, the trumpeter seems cognizant from the onset that the jazz world will not always rest on its laurels. Mission accomplished, indeed.
Track Listing: Alligator Boogaloo; Brother Soul; Elizabeth; Spaceman Twist; Love Power; One Cylinder; Pot Belly; Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On); Good Eats; Streetbeater (Sanford And Son); The Glory Of Love.
Personnel: Mark Rapp: trumpet, flugelhorn, cornet, didgeridoo; Joe Kaplowitz: Hammond B3 organ: Ahmad Mansour: guitar; Klemens Marktl: drums; Don Braden: tenor saxophone and alto flute (1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10).