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 musican obvious requirement for musicians in the movie/TV industryjazz 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 soundno 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: trumpet; Larry Williams: trumpet; Bruce Otto: trombone; Jim McMillen: trombone; Bob McChesney: trombone; Charlie Morillas: bass trombone; Dave Ryan: trombone; Ira Nepus: trombone; Brian Scanlon: alto saxophone; Rusty Higgins: alto saxophone; Rick Keller: tenor saxophone; Jeff Driskill: tenor saxophone; Phil Feather: alto saxophone; Glen Berger: tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Jon Kurnick: guitar; Corey Allen: piano; Kevin Axt: bass; Dave Tull: drums; Masamichi Amano: conductor, The Angel City Studio Orchestra (3, 7); Tony Galla: vocals (3, 4, 7, 10).
Year Released: 2010
| Record Label: Self Produced
| Style: Big Band
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.