Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

260

Cliff Colon: Contraband

John Barron By

Sign in to view read count
Tenor saxophonist Cliff Colon makes his recording debut as a leader with Contraband, a disc containing jazz arrangements of music from a 1980s 8-bit video game called Contra. The disc's nine tracks chronicle each level of the game, in sequential order.

Underneath the novelty of playing jazzed-up versions of electronic video game music lies clever arranging and hard-blowing solos. After the thirteen-second anthem "Intro," Colon and company set off on an adventurous journey through a mostly modal, post-bop landscape. As might be expected, the melodies heard throughout the disc are simple, yet work surprisingly well in a jazz setting. The up-tempo "Jungle" features scorching solos by Colon, alto saxophonist J. Charles, guitarist Frank Seeberger and keyboardist Eric Verlinde. The minor-key samba feel of "Base" features intense drumming by D'Vonne Lewis and a Chick Corea-inspired Rhodes workout by Verlinde.

Colon takes control of "The Boss" with an extended, well-developed solo. Here, the leader manipulates the full-range of his horn with firm technical control. More than willing to share the spotlight with his talented ensemble, Colon lets Charles steer the ship with a blistering alto solo on "Waterfall."

"Snow Field" opens with Spanish-influenced coloring courtesy of Seeberger's versatile approach. The guitarist maintains a strong presence throughout the session with ample solo chops and in-the-pocket comping, as on the driving shuffle "Energy Zone." After the dramatic, highly-arranged "Alien Lair," the disc closes with "End Credits," a serene tension reliever in 6/8 featuring a lyrical upright-bass solo by Chuck Kistler.

Hats off to Colon for bringing fresh sources of material to a straight-ahead situation. Kudos also to artist Ron Harper for his ultra-cool cover design.


Track Listing: Intro; Jungle; Base; The Boss; Waterfall; Snow Field; Energy Zone; Alien Lair; End Credits.

Personnel: Cliff Colon: tenor sax; J. Charles: alto sax; Frank Seeberger: guitar; Eric Verlinde: Rhodes piano, Hammond organ; Chuck Kistler: bass; D'Vonne Lewis: drums.

Title: Contraband | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Self Produced


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Formidable CD/LP/Track Review Formidable
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Cochonnerie CD/LP/Track Review Cochonnerie
by John Sharpe
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Smoke CD/LP/Track Review Smoke
by Joe Gatto
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Threes CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Acknowledgement CD/LP/Track Review Acknowledgement
by Don Phipps
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Lessons And Fairytales CD/LP/Track Review Lessons And Fairytales
by Jerome Wilson
Published: November 23, 2017
Read "May I Introduce To You" CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read "Unit[e]" CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Sektion 3-7" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 3-7
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Steal Your Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Steal Your Heart
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 2, 2017
Read "Live Recitation" CD/LP/Track Review Live Recitation
by Jerome Wilson
Published: June 16, 2017
Read "Queen City Blues" CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Please support out sponsor