Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

221

Frank Macchia: Folk Songs for Jazzers

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Frank Macchia: Folk Songs for Jazzers 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 Wrking on the Railroad; Red River Valley; Skip to My Lou; Oh,Susanna; Did You Ever See Lassie?; Polly Wolly Doodle; Tom Dooley; The Arkansas Traveller; Amazing Grace; The Erie Canal; Hush, Little Baby; The Bluetail Fly; Kumbaya; On Top of Old Smokey.

Personnel: Frank Macchia: tenor sax, piccolo, alto flute, bass flute, contrabass flute, clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabas clarinet; Sal Lozano: alto sax, flute, bass flute, clarinet,bass clarinet; Bob Sheppard: soprano sax, tenor sax, piccolo,flute, bass flute, clarinet, bass 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 Rainer: acoustic piano, electric piano; Grant Geissman: electric guitar, banjo; Trey Henry:bass; Ray Frisby: percussion; Tierney Sutton: vocal (2); Ellis Hall: vocal (9).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Cacophony | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read King Of Xhosa CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Blooming Tall Phlox CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "More Serious Business" CD/LP/Track Review More Serious Business
by Jeff Winbush
Published: March 6, 2016
Read "The Broader Picture" CD/LP/Track Review The Broader Picture
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 8, 2016
Read "Oblivion: The Music of Bud Powell" CD/LP/Track Review Oblivion: The Music of Bud Powell
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 19, 2016
Read "No Coming, No Going – The Music of Peter Kuhn 1978-1979" CD/LP/Track Review No Coming, No Going – The Music of Peter Kuhn 1978-1979
by John Sharpe
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "Hasta Karma" CD/LP/Track Review Hasta Karma
by Tyran Grillo
Published: April 29, 2016
Read "Time Made to Swing" CD/LP/Track Review Time Made to Swing
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!