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Louise Baranger: Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook

Nicholas F. Mondello By

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The Pop Art and 60s-ish graphics cover of this fun CD might give one an impression that Louise Baranger Plays the Great American Groove Book is a party record or perhaps one mis-shelved from the Oldies Bin at now-defunct Tower Records. Sorry.

Framed here by a group of New York Studio A-Listers and via highly-creative arrangements from Tim Ouimette, trumpet artist Louise Baranger re-invigorates a dozen "Pop Tops" and gives each a savvy shine-up. That mix yields a fresh, flavorful tang to the party punch without destroying the original recipe.

The album first offers a butt-moving dance-crowd take on Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up," and moves into "Camaro Willy," a contrafact of Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally," and on to a faster and "mis-behaved" "Soul Bossa Nova." The tone across the sound board here is "Good Times." The playing is energetic overall and the recording oozes it.

Baranger is a name immediately recognized in the trumpet world. She's performed worldwide, played lead in Harry James' Band, did extensive lead trumpet work in Las Vegas Hotel showrooms, and is also a fine jazz soloist. Her work here demos those fine chops all around. They can be heard on a hard-driving version and Miles-ish solo on Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground." "Soulful Grazing" offers a faux version of the late Hugh Masakela's "Grazing in the Grass" and features Baranger's give-take with fellow trumpet great, Marvin Stamm. A slickly produced Latin-flavored "Love Potion No. 9" chants "Satisfaction," shouts "Oye Como Va," and moves on to mix things up for imbibing.

Tim Ouimette's slick Hippity-Hop re-work of Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder" is an album highlight, as is the gorgeous flugelhorn-delivered "Never Can Say Goodbye." Baranger is fond of her mutes and grabs her Harmon on "Inner City Blues." As you'll hear, her solo style there shadows the aforementioned Miles Davis. "With You I'm Born Again," the only ballad-inspired piece covered on the session, is, not surprisingly, a beautiful way to end things send that well-nourished party crowd off into the night.

While attempting not to be anything but itself, Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Groove Book is a fine ride by a fabulous trumpeter and musician and her very cooking crew. Groove on, Lady Louise.

Track Listing: Got to Give It Up; Camaro Willy; Soul Bossa Nova; Higher Ground; Soulful Grazing; Love Potion No. 9; The Sidewinder; Ain't No Sunshine; Take Me to the River; Never Can Say Goodbye; Inner City Blues; With You I'm Born Again.

Personnel: Louise Baranger: trumpet, flugelhorn; Rick Kriska: alto saxophone; Steve Moran: tenor saxophone; Gary Blu: baritone saxophone; Tony Kadleck: trumpet; Lew Soloff: trumpet; Tim Ouimette: trumpet (3); Kurt Eckardt: French horn; Dale Kirkland: Shelagh Abate: French Horn; Andy Rogers: tuba; John Cobert: keyboards; John Putnam: guitar; Lincoln Schleifer: bass; Denny McDermott: drums; Joe Bonadio: percussion; Kati Mac and Louise Baranger: background vocals; Don Braden: flute, alto flute; Marvin Stamm: trumpet; Bill Harris: tenor saxophone; David Spinozza: guitar; Gil Parris: guitar; Mark Martin: Beat Boxer; The "Ridgefield Gang" (crowd noise on "Got to Give It Up.")

Title: Louise Baranger Plays The Great American Songbook | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Summit Records

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