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Chris Tedesco: Living The Dream

Edward Blanco By

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After two decades in Los Angeles making a living from the movie industry, performing television theme songs, and making radio and TV commercial jingles, trumpeter Chris Tedesco unveils his first jazz album as leader completing a musical journey begun in high school. While Tedesco plays many styles of music—an obvious requirement for musicians in the movie/TV industry—jazz has always had a special draw for the trumpeter in a career that has in his words, "surpassed [his] wildest musical expectations," leading him to believe that he is in fact Living The Dream. To make this dream come true, Tedesco corralled eighteen first-call musicians from the LA area. The release includes two thirty-piece string orchestra tunes and four vocal pieces, producing a big band swing album in the finest tradition of the genre.

All of the arrangements but one are provided by trombonist and arranger Jim McMillen, but perhaps the best special feature included on this recording is vocalist Tony Galla, a soulful searing tenor with powerful vocals and range similar in style to the great Tom Jones. Galla's four vocals just happen to be among the best pieces on the album, starting with Ann Ronell's standard "Willow Weep for Me," with Tedesco accompanying the singer on a moving solo. On this song Galla's grand vocal reach is impressive as the singer is supported up by a full string orchestra. Galla belts out an amazing rendition of the classic James Brown song "It's A Man's World," voicing part of the lyrics in Italian. His other two appearances on "Learnin' the Blues," and "Moody's Mood for Love" are dreamy and jazzy to the core, guided by Tedesco's trumpet voice and superb big band orchestrations.

As good as the vocal tunes are, the instrumentals are similarly impressive with Tedesco and McMillen contributing six swinging charts with the swing kicking in on the very brassy "Shuffle This," followed by more woodwind-pronounced lines and a split solo performance from both McMillen and Tedesco on the gyrating "Get On Board." In the only piece co-written by Tedesco and McMillen, "Race to the Bottom" is flavored with a bit of the Duke Ellington jungle sound featuring a strong horn section and a touch of the soprano from saxophonist Brian Scanlon.

Tedesco and Scanlon, this time on the alto lead, team up one more time on the race-horse tempo "The Opener," while trombonist great Bob McChesney accompanies the leader on "I've Got Some Kind of Rhythm." The last instrumental piece, "Lewistonia" leaves the swing territory a bit for a more progressive big band sound—no less brassy, just more sophisticated in the arrangement and approach. Trumpeter Chris Tedesco truly does live a musical dream and this time, rekindles his love for jazz in a swinging big band album that combines real old time swing with a sprinkle of contemporary vocals in a gem of a recording worthy of his Living The Dream.


Track Listing: Shuffle This; Get on Board; Willow Weep for Me; Learnin' the Blues; Race to the Bottom; I've Got "Some" Kind of Rhythm; It's a Man's World; The Opener; Lewistonia; Moody's Mood for Love.

Personnel: Chris Tedesco: trumpet, flugelhorn: Harry Kim: trumpet; Bill Churchville: trumpet; Lee Thornburg: trumpet; Dan Fornero: Larry Williams: trumpet; Bruce Otto: trombone (1,4); Jim McMillen: trombone; Bob McChesney; trombone; Dave Ryan: trombone; Ira Nepus: trombone:(5,9) Charlie Morillas: bass trombone; Brian Scanlon: alto sax, soprano sax; Rusty Higgins: alto sax; Phil Feather; alto sax (5, 8); Glen Berger: tenor sax; Rick Keller: tenor sax; Glen Berger: baritone sax; Jeff Driskill: tenor sax (2); Corey Allen: piano; Jon Kurnick: guitar (10); Kevin Axt: bass; Dave Tull: drums; The angel City Studio Orchestra, Massamici Amano, conductor (3,7): John Wittenberg: violin/concertmaster; Kathleen Robertson, Phillip Vaiman, Kristin Fife, Cameron Patrick,Chris Reutinger,Isabelle Senger, Anna Kostyuchek, Zina Kostyuchek, Vladimir Polimatidi; Carolyn Osborne, Jackie Suzuki, Charlie Bisharat, susan Chatman: violins; Miriam Mayer, Margo Aldcroft, Adriana Zoppo, Novi Novog: violas; Peggy Baldwin, stefanie Fife, Jan Kelley, Kevan Torfeh: celli; Phil Feather: oboe; Bob Shulgold: flute;Joe Meyer: french horn; Paul Klintworth: french horn; Richard Geere: piano; Adrian Rosen: bass; MB Gordy: drums; Jon Kurnick: guitar.

Title: Living the Dream | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced

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