All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

221

Frank Macchia: Folk Songs for Jazzers

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Never the conventionalist when it comes to music, Grammy-nominated composer/arranger and saxophonist Frank Macchia develops another theme album, this time reinterpreting time-honored traditional American folk songs in another innovative frame of jazz on Folk Songs for Jazzers. With a history of releasing concept albums like the saxophone-heavy Saxolollapalooza (Cacophony, 2008), the Third Stream-tinged classical jazz Landscapes(Cacophony, 2007), the orchestral Emotions (Cacophony, 2006), and the previous Animal series recordings, Macchia once again summons his creative juices in recording some classic American folk songs, which he has always loved, casting them in an entirely new light.

The amazing jazzed-up orchestrations of fourteen standard folk songs, re-energized and reinterpreted like never before, are a testament to the arranging skills of this two-time Grammy nominee. In another example of his unconventional approach to music, Macchia chose to use a big band for this project but eschews the normal four trumpet, four trombone, and five sax sections in favor of several multi-woodwind players and a standard rhythm section augmented by vibes on several selections. The thirteen-piece band assembled for this disc features some of Los Angeles' best jazz musicians, among them Wayne Bergeron,Bob Sheppard, Bill Reichenbach, Peter Erskine, Grant Geissman, and Tom Rainer.

Vocalist Tierney Sutton graces the set voicing a soft, humbling rendition of "Red River Valley," while the other vocalist to appear here is Ellis Hall, singing an uplifting version of the somber "Amazing Grace" buoyed by Sheppard's tender tenor solo. With a variety of styles included in the lengthy repertoire, the ballad-like pieces are among the best, beginning with the cool swing rendition of Stephen Foster's familiar "Oh Susanna" and continuing with the spacious "Tom Dooley" with Macchia on a spirited alto clarinet solo as pianist Rainer takes a poignant piano solo. "Hush, Little Baby," an old American lullaby, is arranged here with a bossa nova tinge, featuring the trombone voice of Reichenbach and Rainer playing against the backdrop of four bass clarinets.

The vast majority of the music is presented in more of an up beat and livelier fashion beginning with the opening "I've Been Working on the Railroad" hovering in funky territory and quite electric in texture. "Skip to My Lou" is almost unrecognizable, performed with a Latin flavor and a lot of piccolo sounds while "The Arkansas Traveller" comes across as an in-your-face, boisterous, loud number where guitarist Geissman plays like he's performing in hard rock band. There are many highlights on Folk Songs for Jazzers not to be missed as Frank Macchia crafts another unique non-traditional session of interesting jazz music albeit from the foundation of American folk music.


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

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

CD/LP/Track Review
Mixcloud
Take Five With...
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Love Stone CD/LP/Track Review
Love Stone
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Empty Castles CD/LP/Track Review
Empty Castles
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Myths and Morals CD/LP/Track Review
Myths and Morals
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 22, 2018
Read The Sum Of My Pardon CD/LP/Track Review
The Sum Of My Pardon
by Jim Olin
Published: June 22, 2018
Read Postcard Collection CD/LP/Track Review
Postcard Collection
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 21, 2018
Read "Arvo Pärt: The Symphonies" CD/LP/Track Review Arvo Pärt: The Symphonies
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 31, 2018
Read "Upright Piano - Live At Bar Moskus" CD/LP/Track Review Upright Piano - Live At Bar Moskus
by Jim Worsley
Published: December 25, 2017
Read "On a Distant Shore" CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "The Hands" CD/LP/Track Review The Hands
by John Eyles
Published: February 12, 2018
Read "Somewhere In The Upstream" CD/LP/Track Review Somewhere In The Upstream
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 3, 2018
Read "Borrowed Time" CD/LP/Track Review Borrowed Time
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 15, 2017