Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

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: 2009 | Record Label: Cacophony

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Piglets Bouncing On A Trampoline

Piglets Bouncing On A Trampoline

Frank Macchia
Rhythm Kaleidoscope

I'm So Damn Mad!

I'm So Damn Mad!

Frank Macchia
Grease Mechanix

Discombobulated

Discombobulated

Frank Macchia
Frank Macchia's Swamp Thang

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Frank Macchia
Son of Folk Songs for Jazzers

I've Been Working on the Railroad

I've Been Working on the Railroad

Frank Macchia
Folk Songs For Jazzers

Air Mail Special

Air Mail Special

Frank Macchia
Saxolollapalooza

Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

Frank Macchia
Landscapes

Album Reviews
What I'm Listening to Now
Take Five With...
Album Reviews
Read more articles

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Infection In The Sentence Album Reviews
Infection In The Sentence
By Chris May
February 18, 2019
Read Real Isn't Real Album Reviews
Real Isn't Real
By Phil Barnes
February 18, 2019
Read Citizen Album Reviews
Citizen
By Roger Farbey
February 18, 2019
Read Rosa Parks: Pure Love. An Oratorio of Seven Songs Album Reviews
Rosa Parks: Pure Love. An Oratorio of Seven Songs
By Doug Hall
February 18, 2019
Read Narrow Escape Album Reviews
Narrow Escape
By Roger Farbey
February 18, 2019
Read The Gleaners Album Reviews
The Gleaners
By Karl Ackermann
February 17, 2019
Read God Is Not A Terrorist Album Reviews
God Is Not A Terrorist
By Chris May
February 17, 2019