All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

176

Alex Budman and the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra: Instruments of Mass Pleasure

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
Mass Pleasure is the fourth album by the San Francisco-based Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, which is contemporary in the best sense of the word; that is, belonging to this age and time. While the nine charts are as modern as one could envision, they are firmly grounded in time-honored jazz and musical tradition, never forswearing rhythmic or harmonic convention and structure to accomplish some undefined or exotic purpose. The CJO, which was launched more than a decade ago, validates the fruit of that experience, playing together with notable warmth and congeniality.

The program consists entirely of original compositions, two each by current leader Alex Budman, former leader Christopher Pitts, bassist Lorenzo Farrell and pianist Leonard Thompson, and one by the late Oliver Nelson. Nelson's requiem "Ballad for Benny has Budman sitting on clarinet for the song's namesake, Benny Goodman, and dedicating his inspired performance to another outstanding clarinetist and mentor, the late Abe Most. Elsewhere, Budman shows his versatility by soloing nimbly on alto (his own "In Case of Emergency ), tenor (Pitts' "Little Prayer ) and soprano (Farrell's "Samba in 7 ). "Samba (also featuring Mike Olmos on flugel) is an explicit highlight, as is Farrell's other composition, "The Croxmont Jive, written originally for his piano and Budman's tenor and orchestrated by the latter. The spot-on solos are by Thompson, alto Charles McNeal and the CJO's blue-chip drummer, Brian Fishler.

The opener, "Emergency, hustles briskly along behind crisp ensemble work and engaging statements by Budman, trombonist John Grove and Olmos (on trumpet). Budman and Thompson are front and center on "Little Prayer, an homage by Pitts to John Coltrane, inspired by "Dear Lord and nicely arranged by Chuck MacKinnon. Pitts also wrote the Latin-contoured "Girolata, whose fiery stand-in rhythm section includes pianist Marco Diaz, drummer David Flores and percussionist Jesús Diaz. Completing the session are Budman's sensuous "Mood for a Time, written in 1994 for a quartet and featuring Thompson's piano; and Thompson's compositions "Sidewave (solos by Fishler, trumpeter Joel Behrman, tenor Tod Dickow) and "When We Walked in the Sun, a lyrical conduit for Eric Crystal's expressive tenor.

Many would agree that the world needs more Instruments of Mass Pleasure, and the CJO has done its best to help ease the shortage with a large and invariably pleasing stockpile. Those who appreciate a modern big band that places music in the forefront are sure to dig it.


Track Listing: In Case of Emergency; Little Prayer; Samba in 7; Girolata; Mood for a Time; Sidewave; When We Walked in the Sun; The Croxmont Jive; Ballad for Benny. (62:53)

Personnel: Alex Budman: leader, alto, soprano, tenor sax, clarinet; Charles McNeal: alto sax; Tod Dickow, Eric Crystal (2-4,6-9), Alex Murzyn (1,5): tenor sax; Doug Rowan: baritone sax; Dave Scott, Steffen Kuehn, Joel Behrman, Mike Olmos: trumpet, flugelhorn; Derek James: trombone, bass trombone (5); Adam Theis (2,4,6,7,9), John Brummel (1,3,5,8), Mike Rinta: trombone; Chuck Bennett: bass trombone; Leonard Thompson: piano; Lorenzo Farrell: bass; Brian Fishler: drums. Guest artists: John Grove: trombone solo (1), trombone choir (5); Dan Feiszli (1): acoustic bass; Justin Morell: guitar (3); Marco Diaz: piano (4); David Flores: drums (4); Jes

Title: Instruments of Mass Pleasure | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: OA2 Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Love & Peace CD/LP/Track Review
Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read La Saboteuse CD/LP/Track Review
La Saboteuse
by Chris May
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Cosmic Playground CD/LP/Track Review
Cosmic Playground
by Don Phipps
Published: February 20, 2018
Read Memories of Maynard CD/LP/Track Review
Memories of Maynard
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: February 20, 2018
Read For Gyumri CD/LP/Track Review
For Gyumri
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: February 19, 2018
Read Sextet (Parker) 1993 CD/LP/Track Review
Sextet (Parker) 1993
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 19, 2018
Read "Heavy Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "Prague After Dark" CD/LP/Track Review Prague After Dark
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 16, 2017
Read "Beyond the Moon" CD/LP/Track Review Beyond the Moon
by Tyran Grillo
Published: August 12, 2017
Read "Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns" CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read "Influences" CD/LP/Track Review Influences
by Don Phipps
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Song of No Regrets" CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017