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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia: Grease Mechanix

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One thing that must be said about Frank Macchia (well, two things, actually)--he's a wild and crazy composer / bandleader whose satchel is always overflowing with splendid musical surprises. On his new album, Grease Mechanix, Macchia goes funky in a New Orleans brass band manner, employing a seventeen-piece ensemble comprised of some of the best sidemen the Los Angeles area has to offer to design such instant jazz classics as “Zombies Ate My Grandma," “Chicken Neck," “I'm So Damn Mad!," “Sweet Patootie Waltz" and “Fatback Bubblebath," to name only a few. Another well-known maxim is that comedy ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia: Frank Macchia's Swamp Thang

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You never can tell what some jazz guys have up their sleeves. Los Angeles-based reedman Frank Macchia has worked extensively in television and movies, while maintaining a busy jazz career. His two orchestral jazz outings--Emotions (2006) and Landscapes (2008)--each garnered Grammy nominations, and he has also offered up two very distinctive jazz re-imaginings of traditional fare with Folk Songs for Jazzers (2010) and Son of Folk Songs for Jazzers (2011), all released on his own Cacophony Records.With Frank Macchia's Swamp Thang, the versatile saxophonist takes a trip into a sonic landscape of bayou boogie, blues, funk, and New ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia: Son of Folk Songs for Jazzers

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Composer/arranger Frank Macchia explores twelve more American folk songs and their reinterpretation through jazz on Son of Folk Songs for Jazzers, a follow-up to his critically acclaimed Folk Songs for Jazzers (Cacophony, 2010), for which he received his third Grammy nod in the Best Instrumental Arrangement category. As with the first album, Macchia uses a fourteen-piece ensemble, with many of the same A-list musicians from the Los Angeles area, among them, Wayne Bergeron, Bob Sheppard, Bill Reichenbach and vocalist Tierney Sutton. A talented multi-instrumentalist, here Macchia plays everything from saxophones and flutes to melodica and organ, topping it off with ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia: Son of Folk Songs for Jazzers

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Saxophonist Frank Macchia keeps racking up the Grammy nominations. He got his third nod for the award with his big band interpretation of “Skip to My Lou," from his Folk Songs for Jazzers (Cacophony, 2010), following up his recognition for Emotions (Cacophony, 2007) and Landscapes (Cacophony 2008). In addition to his work in producing these excellent CD offerings, Macchia also works extensively in film and TV, as one of those musicians many have heard without knowing who it was they were hearing, on television shows including Lost, Desperate Housewives and Murder She Wrote, as well as over forty ...

MY ITUNES PLAYLIST

Frank Macchia's Freaky Fricassee of Music

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These are just a random group of some of my favorite tunes compiled for your listening pleasure. Not just jazz tunes, but some rock, pop and classical as well. I hope you can check out some of these artists. I really dig them!! TrackNameTimeArtistAlbum1After Youre Gone3:53Terry GibbsDream Band Vol 12Alabama (Takes 4 & 5)5:10John Coltrane QuartetThe Classic Quartet--Complete Impulse! Studio Recordings3All Of Me2:18EsquivelMusic From A Sparkling Planet4Bernie's Tune (LP Version)4:21Clare FischerCrazy Bird5Clear Spot3:40Captain Beefheart & The Magic BandThe Spotlight Kid / Clear Spot6Davenport Blues4:27Gil EvansGreat Jazz Standards7Don't Change Horses (In The Middle Of A Stream)4:45Tower Of PowerBack To ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Frank Macchia

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Meet Frank Macchia: Born and raised in San Francisco, CA., Frank started on the clarinet at the age of ten years old. Soon afterward he began studies on bassoon, saxophone and flute. By the age of fourteen he began studying composition, writing jazz and classical pieces for his high school band and orchestra and for jazz ensembles that rehearsed at the local union hall, including trumpeter Mike Vax's Big Band. In 1975-76 Frank wrote jazz/classical hybrid works that were performed by the San Francisco Symphony and local professional jazz musicians at the Summer Music Workshop ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia: Folk Songs for Jazzers

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Never the conventionalist when it comes to music, Grammy-nominated composer/arranger and saxophonist Frank Macchia develops another theme album, this time reinterpreting time-honored traditional American folk songs in another innovative frame of jazz on Folk Songs for Jazzers. With a history of releasing concept albums like the saxophone-heavy Saxolollapalooza (Cacophony, 2008), the Third Stream-tinged classical jazz Landscapes(Cacophony, 2007), the orchestral Emotions (Cacophony, 2006), and the previous Animal series recordings, Macchia once again summons his creative juices in recording some classic American folk songs, which he has always loved, casting them in an entirely new light.

The amazing jazzed-up orchestrations ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia: Folk Songs for Jazzers

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Frank Macchia seems to have a thing about American folk songs--a very good thing. On his Grammy-nominated Landscapes, the Los Angeles-based multi-reedist/composer/arranger teamed up with The Prague Orchestra and bookended his superb “Landscape Suite" with traditional tunes like “Shenandoah," “Down in the Valley," and “Deep River," with marvelous results.On Folk Songs for Jazzers, Macchia and his thirteen-piece band jazzes up some seemingly unlikely traditional tunes like “Blue Tail Fly," “I've Been Working on the Railroad," Skip to My Lou," and even that old campfire sing-along “Kumbaya."All that may sound like a surefire recipe for some serious ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia: Saxolollapalooza

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As John Cleese used to say on the Monty Python television series, “And now for something completely different." Of course, one can usually expect something completely different from free-thinking Frank Macchia, and this CD is no exception to the rule. Once upon a time, Macchia writes, he bought a bass saxophone and came up with the idea of recording half a dozen saxophones, from soprano to bass, accompanied only by drums. He wrote a number of charts and even recorded demos on which he overdubbed the saxophone parts. But Macchia eventually shelved the plan, as what he “always dreamed of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia: Saxolollapalooza

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Way in the background on some classic big band recordings, there is a high-pitched aural glow, a sustained, ethereal, almost liturgical hum coming from somewhere in the reeds section. Duke Ellington's “There Shall Be No Night," from the great Blanton/Webster Band box set (Bluebird, 1990), has it. Partly it's the recording technology of the time, sufficiently imperfect that your brain suspects it's hearing things that aren't there; partly it's the art of the arranger (Billy Strayhorn, of course, in the Ellington example), providing things that are there. It's one of the most transcendent sounds in jazz.Woodwind multi-instrumentalist Frank ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia: Landscapes

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Tenor saxophonist/composer/arranger Frank Macchia has made a significant album that follows-up his Grammy-nominated Emotions (Cacophony, 2006). Again utilizing the strings of the Prague Orchestra under the direction of Adam Klemens, Macchia has submitted another ambitious work to the public.

Listening to Landscapes, the two things that come to mind are film scoring and the influences of Aaron Copland and Gil Evans. In the liner notes, Macchia reports that in preparation and inspiration for this album, he listened to Keith Jarrett/Jan Garbarek's Luminessence (ECM, 1975)and Stan Getz's Focus session (Verve, 1962) with the Eddie Sauter Strings. While Macchia is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia: Landscapes

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The prospect of a saxophone and strings record is likely to call to mind Charlie Parker's controversial Bird With Strings (Mercury, 1949), but that's not the obvious reference point once you've listened to this recording. Saxophonist Frank Macchia's Landscapes is a saxophone concerto for classical orchestra, framed by treatments of classic American songs in the same style--like, say, Beethoven's 1817 adaptations of Scottish songs.Another key ingredient of this record is movie music. Macchia is a part of that noble succession of jazzmen who've made their way to Los Angeles to earn a living playing movie soundtracks, though not ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia with The Prague Orchestra: Landscapes

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Listening to the opening notes on Frank Macchia's Landscapes, one can't help but hear a Stan Getz vibe blowing into play. It's not the Getz of the bossa nova sounds with Antonio Carlos Jobim, or his boppish mainstream work, but rather the Stan Getz of Focus (Verve Records, 1961), with the tenor saxophonist improvising over a string section.While Focus teamed Getz with composer/arranger Eddie Sauter's tunes and charts, Landscapes features tenor saxophonist Frank Macchia blowing beautiful improvisations in front of his own arrangements--with a smooth, Getzian tone--joined by the woodwinds, strings and harps of the Prague Orchestra, conducted ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Macchia with The Prague Orchestra: Landscapes

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A follow-up to composer/arranger/saxophonist Frank Macchia's critically acclaimed Emotions (Cacophony, 2006), which received a Grammy nomination for “Best Arrangement ("Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair ), Landscapes is the second part of an extended session of symphonic music cleverly diced with strong jazzy overtones. As with the first album, Macchia employs the string-laden Prague Orchestra, under the direction of Adam Klemens, to provide lush arrangements that feature the soft tenor saxophone voice without a conventional rhythm section.

Spending the last fifteen years in Los Angeles orchestrating and composing for movies, and specifically writing for strings, ...



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