274

Frank Macchia with The Prague Orchestra: Landscapes

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Listening to the opening notes on Frank Macchia's Landscapes, one can't help but hear a Stan Getz vibe blowing into play. It's not the Getz of the bossa nova sounds with Antonio Carlos Jobim, or his boppish mainstream work, but rather the Stan Getz of Focus (Verve Records, 1961), with the tenor saxophonist improvising over a string section.

While Focus teamed Getz with composer/arranger Eddie Sauter's tunes and charts, Landscapes features tenor saxophonist Frank Macchia blowing beautiful improvisations in front of his own arrangements—with a smooth, Getzian tone—joined by the woodwinds, strings and harps of the Prague Orchestra, conducted by Adam Klemens.

Macchia chose traditional or public domain tunes to open and close the set—three before and three after his six-part "Landscapes Suite: for Saxophone and Orchestra." The results stand with the very best of past "with strings" jazz outings: alto saxophonist Art Pepper's Winter Moon (Galaxy, 1981); trumpeter Chet Baker's Chet Baker & Strings (Columbia Records, 1954); trumpeter Wallace Roney's under-appreciated Misteriosos (Warner Brother, 1994); and, of course, Charlie Parker's Charlie Parker With Strings (Verve, 1952).

Macchia's choices of traditional and public domain tunes are unusual: "The Sidewalks of New York," "Shenandoah" and "Down in the Valley" to start, with "Deep River," "Avalon," and "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" closing the show. The arranger's new charts for these old gems shines them up and has all the facets flashing in a modern light, while his masterful "Landscape Suite" has an expansive, intricately lush and lovely atmosphere.

The jazz and strings combination seems to be a love it or hate it affair. For those listeners who have dug their heels in against the genre, Landscapes probably won't change their minds, though it should. Art Pepper said, of his Winter Moon "...if somebody doesn't like it...well, they don't know what to listen for."

The same could be said for Landscapes, an excellent saxophone and strings affair.

Track Listing: The Sidewalks of New York; Shenandoah; Down In The Valley; Landscapes Suite - for Saxophone & Orchestra: I.Golden Fields, II.Desert Heat, III.River Rapids, IV.Arctic Chill, V.Jungle Life, VI.Forest Twilight; Deep River; Avalon; Way Down Yonder In New Orleans.

Personnel: Frank Macchia: composer, tenor saxophone; The Prague Orchestra: Adam Klemens: conductor; orchestra personnel unlisted.

Title: Landscapes | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Cacophony

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

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

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

Related Articles

Read New Year Album Reviews
New Year
By Dan Bilawsky
July 17, 2019
Read Confluence Album Reviews
Confluence
By Karl Ackermann
July 17, 2019
Read Shafted Album Reviews
Shafted
By Edward Blanco
July 17, 2019
Read Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club
By Don Phipps
July 17, 2019
Read Confluence Album Reviews
Confluence
By Dan McClenaghan
July 16, 2019
Read Movimenti Album Reviews
Movimenti
By Geno Thackara
July 16, 2019
Read A New Home Album Reviews
A New Home
By Mark Corroto
July 16, 2019