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!

391

Frank Macchia: Folk Songs for Jazzers

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Frank Macchia seems to have a thing about American folk songs—a very good thing. On his Grammy-nominated Landscapes, the Los Angeles-based multi-reedist/composer/arranger teamed up with The Prague Orchestra and bookended his superb "Landscape Suite" with traditional tunes like "Shenandoah," "Down in the Valley," and "Deep River," with marvelous results.

On Folk Songs for Jazzers, Macchia and his thirteen-piece band jazzes up some seemingly unlikely traditional tunes like "Blue Tail Fly," "I've Been Working on the Railroad," Skip to My Lou," and even that old campfire sing-along "Kumbaya."

All that may sound like a surefire recipe for some serious un-hipness, but Macchia and company are inspired re-inventors, giving "Oh Susanna" a very cool Gil Evans feeling on the harmonies to go with a series of trombone and reed solos that, with improvisational élan, take the tune somewhere else altogether; the essence jazz.

"Skip to My Lou"—probably not recognizable on casual listen—is jazzed up hot with a Latin tinge featuring a bird song piccolo solo that weaves around the swirling reeds, followed by a saucy trumpet turn in front of some beefy horn accompaniment. "Kumbaya" opens with Macchia's hearty tenor solo and a loose-limbed, rumbling, brass-heavy accompaniment. It seems like an unusual choice for a jazz treatment, but Macchia and the band give it grit, and a foreboding feeling of oncoming calamity. This heard around the camp fire would conjure images of dangerous things lurking out there in the dark.

Vocalist Tierney Sutton sits in on "Red River Valley" with her clear, clean intonation and a feeling of haunted melancholy, as she scats in front of waxing/waning reeds, giving way to a bluesy guitar solo. "Amazing Grace" features Ellis Hall's soulfully uplifting vocal in front of an ethereal reed harmony and Bob Sheppard's heart-felt tenor sax solo injected with Hall's scat comping.

Once again, Frank Macchia has modernized a set of traditional tunes, jazzing them up with sass and beauty into a new millennium.

Track Listing: I've Been Working on the Railroad; Red River Valley; Skip to My Lou; Oh, Susanna; Did You Ever See Lassie?; Polly Wolly Doodle; Tom Dooley; The Arkansas Traveler; Amazing Grace; The Erie Canal; Hush, Little Baby; The Bluetail Fly; Kumbaya; On Top of Old Smoky.

Personnel: Sal Lozano: alto sax; flute; bass flute; clarinet; bass clarinet; Bob Shepard: soprano sax, tenor sax, piccolo, flute, bass flute, clarinet, bass clarinet; Frank Macchia: tenor sax, piccolo, alto flute, bass flute, contrabass flute, clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet; Jay Mason: baritone sax, bass sax, flute, bass flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, English horn; Wayne Bergeron: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alex Iles: trombone, baritone horn, tuba; Kevin Porter: trombone, bass trombone, baritone horn, tuba; Tom Ranier: acoustic and electric piano; Grant Geissman: electric guitar, banjo;Trey Henry: bass; Ray Frisby: percussion; Tierney Sutton: vocal (2); Ellis Hall: vocal (9).

Title: Folk Songs For Jazzers | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Cacophony


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 Threes CD/LP/Track Review Threes
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 24, 2017
Read Smoke CD/LP/Track Review Smoke
by Joe Gatto
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 "Blow + Beat" CD/LP/Track Review Blow + Beat
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "The Voice of Robert Desnos" CD/LP/Track Review The Voice of Robert Desnos
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 22, 2017
Read "You & I" CD/LP/Track Review You & I
by James Nadal
Published: June 4, 2017
Read "Hauptbahnhof" CD/LP/Track Review Hauptbahnhof
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "IIII+IIII" CD/LP/Track Review IIII+IIII
by James Nadal
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Southern Blood" CD/LP/Track Review Southern Blood
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 17, 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