Raul Romero and His Jazz Stars Orchestra: Moon Trip 2000, 2nd Edition

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
As the late Raul Romero is one of my favorite unsung big–band composer / arrangers, it saddens me to report that the second edition of Moon Trip 2000 by his Jazz Stars Orchestra is notably less pleasing than the first, which was reviewed about a year or so ago. The fault lies not with the music but with the annoying distortions caused by its apparently direct transfer from vinyl album to compact disc. The surface noise, particularly on the first several tracks, is distressingly audible, and one can actually hear the needle being dropped onto the vinyl surface at the start of most selections. Ron Feuer’s electric piano is especially ill–served, sounding at times more like an over–the–top heavy metal guitar than a keyboard, electric or acoustic. Once past those drawbacks the music is consistently high–grade (except for two raucous numbers by Rick Davis, “Soul Mama Mary” and “Birmingham Jail”). Unfortunately, “Soul Mama Mary” opens the album, so it may be a good idea to skip that one and go directly to track two, Romero’s lush and lyrical “Dreamland.” Romero also wrote “Something for Herbs,” a medium–tempo swinger with ad–lib to match by the great Carl Saunders. Herb Phillips’ breezy samba, “Sun and Sand,” features Feuer on (better–sounding) electric piano, Chuck Forster on flugel and Romero’s only (credited) tenor solo (although I’d bet that’s also him on the finale, “Funky Soul Blues,” which is much better than its name suggests). Davis regains his balance with three admirable charts — the slashing “Funhouse” (solos by alto Joe Bonati and trombonist Ed Morgan), explosive “Jazz Theme” (crisp solos by Feuer, Morgan, alto Charlie McLean, tenor Rod Adams and guitarist Don Overberg, explicit echoes of Johnny Mandel’s “”Not Really the Blues”) and gospel–flavored “A Time of Signs,” on which his biting tenor shares the spotlight with Feuer (again badly distorted), Overberg and trumpeter Billy Hunt. McLean is the soloist (on “electric” alto) on the funky “Birmingham Jail,” but the less said about that the better. The composer of “Funky Soul Blues” is uncredited (as is the tenor) but I suspect that author and soloist are the same — Romero — while Saunders is in all likelihood the featured trumpeter and the (acoustic) pianist must be Feuer, as he’s the only one listed. This is a mixed bag, with high marks for (most of) the music but a less than enthusiastic endorsement thanks to the album’s second–rate sound and LP–length forty–four–minute playing time.

Contact: Americatone International, 1817 Loch Lomond Way, Las Vegas, NV 89102–4437. Phone 702–384–0030; fax 702–382–1926. Web site, www.americatone.com

Track Listing: Soul Mama Mary; Dreamland; Something for Herbs; Sun and Sand; Funhouse; Jazz Theme; A Time of Signs; Birmingham Jail; Funky Soul Blues (44:00).

Personnel: Raul Romero, leader, tenor sax; Charlie McLean, Ben Baile, Rick Davis, Rod Adams, Kenny Hing, Joe Bonati, reeds; Bill Hodges, Billy Hunt, Ron Puckett, Walt Johnson, Merv Harding, Bobby Shew, Carl Saunders, Chuck Forster, trumpet, flugelhorn; Ed Morgan, Archie LeCoque, Carl Fontana, Marty Harrell, Jim Huntzinger, Ralph Pressler, trombone; Dave Wheeler, tuba; Ron Feuer, piano; Harvey Waxman, vibes; Don Overberg, guitar; Orlando “Papito” Hernandez, Santo Savino, drums.

Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Americatone | Style: Big Band


More Articles

Read Malnoia CD/LP/Track Review Malnoia
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Get 'Em CD/LP/Track Review Get 'Em
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Radioactive Landscapes EP CD/LP/Track Review Radioactive Landscapes EP
by Troy Dostert
Published: April 24, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 24, 2017
Read The Many Minds of Richie Cole CD/LP/Track Review The Many Minds of Richie Cole
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: April 24, 2017
Read LifeCycle CD/LP/Track Review LifeCycle
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "Pulsation" CD/LP/Track Review Pulsation
by Nicola Negri
Published: August 1, 2016
Read "With Due Respect" CD/LP/Track Review With Due Respect
by Chris Mosey
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "Invisible Hand" CD/LP/Track Review Invisible Hand
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 12, 2017
Read "Conditions" CD/LP/Track Review Conditions
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Live at Barbes: Slavic Soul Party Plays Duke Ellington's Far East Suite" CD/LP/Track Review Live at Barbes: Slavic Soul Party Plays Duke...
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: March 21, 2017
Read "Green With Envy" CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus


Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!