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.
Lookear; Capistrano; Rivers; October; Paris Buffet; Himalayan; Migration; Molly Ann; Quiet Passion; Madrid Session; Harbor Cafe Blues.
Craig Buhler: clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax; Brian Atkinson: trumpet, flugelhorn, vibes; Dave
Witham: piano; Joel Hamilton: bass; Paul Kreibich: drums, percussion.
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.
Get more of a good thing
Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.