6

Doc Stewart Big Band Resuscitation: Code Blue!

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Doc Stewart Big Band Resuscitation: Code Blue! "Doc" is much more than a nickname to Chris Stewart: it's a profession. And straight-ahead jazz is far more than a pastime: it's a passion. For the past sixteen years, Doc Stewart's day gig has been ER physician at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Scottsdale, AZ. Long before that, however, Stewart was a working musician who played alto sax with a number of big bands including those led by Tom Kubis, Ladd McIntosh, Matt Catingub, Louie Bellson, Toshiko Akiyoshi / Lew Tabackin, Bill Watrous and (coincidentally) Doc Rutherford. He is also a well-known Julian "Cannonball" Adderley historian / discographer who in 2005 recorded the album Phoenix: A Tribute to Cannonball Adderley.

Having affirmed Stewart's credentials, how's the music? Well, if he practices medicine as well as he plays alto, leads a band and chooses sidemen, Stewart's patients at the Mayo Clinic may rest assured they are in good hands indeed. The session opens, appropriately enough, with the graphic "Code Blue Suite," comprised of four surveys of the blues, the second of which ("Ironman Blues") sounds like something that might have been written by Med Flory for SuperSax. The suite was actually co-written by Stewart and Kubis. Next up is the first of two engaging compositions by Adderley, "The Sticks," followed by Kubis' lyrical "Homage to Bud Shank," Hal Galper's sinuous "Snakin' the Grass" (complete with electronic enhancements), Stewart's charming salute to his wife of thirty-four years, "Patty's Bossa," and Bobby Timmons' jazz evergreen, "Dis Here."

Catingub scored that one, as he did Adderley's graceful "Introduction to a Samba," the standard "Poor Butterfly" (on which the saxophone passages are breathtaking) and Charles Lloyd's warm-hearted "Song My Lady Sings." Yet another Catingub arrangement, of the Jerome Kern standard "The Way You Look Tonight" (a second showcase for the sax section plus trombonist Andy Martin), leads to the fast-paced finale, Kubis' galvanic arrangement of Oscar Pettiford's "Bohemia After Dark" (with even more saxophone pyrotechnics). Stewart solos (tastefully, sometimes in Cannonball mode) on all but one of the album's fourteen numbers, amplifying incisive statements by trumpeters Jeff Bunnell, Wayne Bergeron and Ron Stout; trombonists Martin, Scott Kyle and Bill Reichenbach; alto Catingub, tenor Bill Liston and drummer Steve Moretti. Longtime friends Stewart and Catingub share blowing space (briefly) on "Bud Shank" and "Song My Lady Sings."

No matter how many miles are on your odometer or what shape you are in, Code Blue! could be just what the doctor ordered.

Track Listing: Code Pink; Ironman Blues; The Last Breath Blues; Code Jesus; The Sticks; Homage to Bud Shank; Snakin' the Grass; Patty's Bossa; Dis Here; Introduction to a Samba; Poor Butterfly; Song My Lady Sings; The Way You Look Tonight; Bohemia after Dark.

Personnel: Doc Stewart: alto saxophone; Dan Higgins: woodwinds; Bill Liston: woodwinds; Rusty Higgins: woodwinds; Greg Huckins: woodwinds; Alex Budman: woodwinds; Wayne Bergeron: trumpet, Flugelhorn; Dan Fornero: trumpet, Flugelhorn; Jeff Bunnell: trumpet, Flugelhorn; Ron Stout: trumpet, Flugelhorn; Kye Palmer: trumpet, Flugelhorn; Larry Hall: trumpet, Flugelhorn; Andy Martin: trombone; Alex Iles: trombone; Scott Kyle: trombone; Bill Reichenbach: trombone; Matt Catingub: piano; Kevin Axt: acoustic bass, electric bass; Steve Moretti: drums.

Title: Code Blue! | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Cannonball Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Pocono Git-Down" CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read "Hark The Herald" CD/LP/Track Review Hark The Herald
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Sektion 3-7" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 3-7
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs" CD/LP/Track Review Discoveries on Tracker Action Organs
by John Eyles
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Live at Club Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Club Helsinki
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 2, 2017
Read "Silent Light" CD/LP/Track Review Silent Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: April 27, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.