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.
Learning Jazz gave me a masters degree in music. Jazz is American Classical Music, came
out of a need to be heard, to be understood, a voice when black America did not have one.
This is why the music is more than just an art form, it was created from blood, guts and heart
of those who suffered in this world. Its not to be taken lightly. If you do take it lightly it will
never sound right. Thank you to all the courageous musicians who made the world hear
them, their innovation came out of their experiences of the time that they lived. A treasure to
the world. American Classical Music. Imitate, Assimilate, Innovate a quote by Clark Terry.