In what amounts to a public announcement, the press release that accompanies this album reports that baritone saxophonist Marc Rosen has spent decades worshipping the music of Gerry Mulligan. Dating back to his high school years, the teen would take frequent trips into Chicago until he finally saw Jeru's set at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase. Although Rosen has been a member, and leader, of several jazz ensembles, the Sweet Thunder Jazztet is his opportunity to showcase the Mulligan songbookas well as his own compositions which reflect that style.
In presenting eleven original compositions, Rosen avoids slavishly copying the Mulligan sound. Rather, his music represents what the baritone saxophonist has been gravitating towards for many years. The only non-Rosen composition, "Marc VI," was written by arranger Dave Wolpe specifically for this band; it opens the album with the pungent sound of the Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker Quartet of the mid-1950s. That is further enhanced by the presence of trumpeter/flugelhornist Paul Buening, who doesn't sound that much like Chet Baker. Rather, he provides the final touch to the period sound that the Mulligan group had tapped into. Beuning appears on other (unspecified) tracks, and more of them would have been welcomed.
Rosen comes closest in the Mulligan sound on the ballads like "Dormindinha," which demonstrate the essence of the big yet lyrical sound of the baritone sax. On the Rosen originals, he has absorbed the melodic and harmonic ideas that were a vital part of Mulligan's vocabulary. The other players, Dave Davidson (piano and keyboards), Scott Baekeland or Gregg Carpenter (bass guitar), and Fred Johnson (drums) all sound up to the job and are provided with solo moments, but the chief interest here is the playing and writing of Marc Rosen.
While it doesn't really offer anything new, Monsoon provides a pleasant journey into the past.
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me. As a life-long jazz lover, I eventually became a jazz educator and producer/host of a very popular jazz radio program in Los Angeles, California.
I love jazz because it is so free. I can think, feel, and dream to jazz, and it allows my mind to flow and expand, musically and otherwise. I also love jazz because it, much like other forms of music, allows opportunities to bring people from all walks of life together. What makes jazz more significant to me, though, is its historical significance; that is, how jazz served, in part, as a method of bringing communities together, a cultural/social/spiritual conduit.