All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
A blind spin of The Capistrano Sessions immediately evokes the recordings Shorty Rogers made in the 1950s. The sound, the swing, the je ne sais quoi is a vintage West Coast jazz vibe. One of the hallmarks of the West Coast sound is the facile ability for small combos to sound like a much larger band. This ability is a function of the musical arrangement, the West Coast having a stable full of such talent. Multi-instrumentalist leader Craig Buhler provides eleven original compositions which perfectly capture this vintage sound, without the attic smell.
The disc kicks off with the West Coast bebop of "Lookear. Buhler shows off his Stan Getz tenor chops in this jagged swinging piece, and he allows pianist Dave Witham and brass man Brian Atkinson to show off theirs. The piece is a swinging throwback blues that has a momentum all its own. Momentum is the musical undercurrent at work here.
"Capistrano has a Pacific island theme accentuated by Atkinson's precise vibraphone and Buhler's swerving clarinet. "Molly Ann extrapolates this island sound in jaunty blues clothing with a loping 4/4 interlude. The entire collection of original compositions reeks of freshness and invention.
The Capistrano Sessions is a well-conceived project of mainstream jazz with a Left Coast bent. Buhler is a consummate educator and performer who has made this writer's end-of-the-year list.
Track Listing: Lookear; Capistrano; Rivers; October; Paris Buffet; Himalayan; Migration; Molly Ann; Quiet Passion; Madrid Session; Harbor Cafe Blues.
Personnel: Craig Buhler: clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax; Brian Atkinson: trumpet, flugelhorn, vibes; Dave
Witham: piano; Joel Hamilton: bass; Paul Kreibich: drums, percussion.
I love jazz because I enjoy the freedom.
I was first exposed to jazz when I was 17.
I met Cedar Walton at a concert in San Paulo.
The best show I ever attended was Helio Jambao trio.
The first jazz record I bought was Witchcraft by George Benson.
My advice to new listeners is listen to the old school first.