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The Tom Ranier/Glenn Cashman Sextet is an all-star group of some of the most in-demand jazz musicians on the Southern California scene. Ranier, whose sideman credits include Buddy DeFranco and Kenny Burrell, is one of the west coast's top jazz and studio pianists. Cashman is a renowned tenor saxophonist who divides his time between teaching in upstate New York and playing gigs around Los Angeles. Bright Idea continues in the same hard-driving, progressive fashion as the group's previous release, Blue in Green (Primrose Lane, 2005).
The strength of the individual performers on this session would be enough to warrant interest. What makes Bright Idea stand out as a winner, however, is the exemplary composing of its co-leaders. More than just a collection of interesting tuneswhich they arethe arrangements expertly manipulate the textural possibilities of the sextet's front line: tenor sax, alto sax and trombone. Cashman's "All That Glitters is Silver, a tribute to Horace Silver, and "Three If By Sea exemplify the disc's strategic balance between ensemble and soloist. Ranier's "Bob's Your Uncle is a dark, funky romp with unpredictable chromatic twists reminiscent of the Brecker Brothers.
This exceptional sextet is rounded out by veteran sidemen with exemplary credentials. Alto saxophonist Bob Sheppard, perhaps best-known for his work with Chick Corea's Origin ensemble, has a sharp-edged tone that slices with ease through the blistering "Studer Rodeo and the harmonically challenging "Transparency. Trombonist Bob McChesney, whose recording credits include Horace Silver and Bob Florence, displays a rapid-fire approach on the up-tempo title track and jovial buoyancy on Irving Berlin's "How Deep is the Ocean. Bassist Luther Hughes and drummer Kendall Kay provide a rock-solid foundation and manage to elevate the intensity of each swinging groove with a crisp, vibrant approach.
With committed passion to the past and a forward-thinking connection to the possibilities of straight-ahead jazz, Ranier and Cashman maintain a musical aesthetic that is challenging, yet accessible to a diverse listening audience. Bright Idea is a welcome addition to the recorded legacy of a powerhouse ensemble deserving of wider recognition.
Track Listing: Studer Rodeo; All That Glitters is Silver; Three If By Sea; Bright Idea; Favorite Broken Rule; Transparency; Bobs Your Uncle; Southland; How Deep Is The Ocean?
Personnel: Tom Ranier: piano; Glenn Cashman: tenor sax; Bob Sheppard: alto sax; Bob McChesney: trombone; Luther Hughes: bass; Kendall Kay: drums.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.