Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.


Frank Mantooth Jazz Orchestra: A Miracle

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
There are three tracks — “Wichita Lineman,“ “Dreamsville,” “Limehouse Blues” — on the Frank Mantooth Orchestra’s latest release that warrant inclusion in anyone’s big–band library. But the fact that there are no more than that is mildly disappointing when one considers Mantooth’s widely recognized stature as a top–rank composer/arranger (all the charts are his except Randy Brecker’s “Guarujá,” scored by Tom Matta). In fairness, four of the ten selections are vocals, and Mantooth has provided sumptuous orchestral backdrops for Kevin Mahogany (“Three Little Words,” “I’ll Never Stop Loving You”), Diane Schuur (“One for Monterey”) and the opening Mahogany/Schuur duet (“A Miracle”). But none of these songs could reasonably be described as memorable, and the lyrics to Carroll Coates’ “One for Monterey” are instantly forgettable. “Three Little Words,” sung by Mahogany, isn’t the Kalmar/Ruby standard (would that it were) but a new bossa that he co–authored with Paul Hoffman. Strangely, the two songs that would seem to lend themselves most readily to high–flying Jazz arrangements — Charles Trenet’s “Beyond the Sea” and Rodgers and Hart’s “Thou Swell” — never get off the runway, even though trumpeter Art Davis and alto Howie Smith (“Beyond the Sea”) and tenor Pete Christlieb and trumpeter Bobby Shew (“Thou Swell”) labor to redeem them with glowing solos. “Beyond the Sea” flows nicely but lacks the required spark (for comparison’s sake, listen to Bobby Darin’s dynamic late–’50s version). “Thou Swell” has its moments, but the shifting time signatures are in this case more disconcerting than likable while modulating its essential drive. “Limehouse Blues” fares much better in that respect (and includes fiery choruses by Shew, guitarist Danny Embrey and alto Kim Park). Other soloists worth noting include trombonist Dave Steinmeyer (“Wichita Lineman,” “Dreamsville”), tenor Steve Eisen (“Wichita Lineman”), trumpeter Kirk Garrison and pianist Larry Harris (“Guarujá”), tenor Pat LaBarbera and trombonist Paul McKee (“Three Little Words”). An uneven session that is guardedly recommended for the pleasures it does encompass.

Track listing: A Miracle; Wichita Lineman; Guarujá; Three Little Words; Beyond the Sea; One for Monterey; Dreamsville; Thou Swell; I’ll Never Stop Loving You; Limehouse Blues (59:19).

Collective personnel: Frank Mantooth, leader, piano (on “I’ll Never Stop Loving You”); Mike Smith, Jim Massoth, Howie Smith, Kim Park, alto sax; Steve Eisen, Mark Colby, Pete Christlieb, Pat LaBarbera, tenor sax; Jerry DiMuzio, Scott Robinson, baritone sax; Danny Barber, Kirk Garrison, Rob Parton, Art Davis, Bobby Shew, Pete Olstad, trumpets; Tom Garling, Mark Bettcher, Mike Young, Dave Steinmeyer, Paul McKee, trombones; Tom Matta, bass trombone; Larry Harris, piano, synthesizer; John McLean, Danny Embrey, guitar; Larry Kohut, Lou Fischer, bass; Phil Gratteau, Ray Brinker, drums; Alejo Poveda, Jose Rendon, percussion; Diane Schuur, Kevin Mahogany, vocals. On “I’ll Never Stop Loving You” add Kay Ragsdale, flute; Carl Sonik, oboe; David Jones, Jerry DiMuzio, clarinet; Peter Brusen, bassoon; John Boen, horn; Marcia LaBella, harp; Adrian Gola, Benita Barber, Alan Ellsworth, Terry Jares, Lisa Fako, Barb Farley, Ralph Boyd, Neil Samples, Janelle O’Brien, Tony DeMarco, violins; Linda Reyes, Janette Simmons, violas; David Reyes, Bill Simmons, cello.

Title: A Miracle | Year Released: 1999 | Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Bound CD/LP/Track Review Not Bound
by Don Phipps
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read "Burnt Hibiscus" CD/LP/Track Review Burnt Hibiscus
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 27, 2017
Read "Can't Get Started" CD/LP/Track Review Can't Get Started
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: August 24, 2017
Read "Momentum" CD/LP/Track Review Momentum
by John Sharpe
Published: April 5, 2017
Read "The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow" CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 3, 2017
Read "Neko" CD/LP/Track Review Neko
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2017
Read "Last Minute Panic" CD/LP/Track Review Last Minute Panic
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 18, 2017