127

The Stan Bock Ensemble: Night Grooves

J. Robert Bragonier By

Sign in to view read count
Trombonist Stan Bock grew up with the music of horn bands like Blood, Sweat and Tears, Chicago, and the Motown groups. Although exposed early to classic jazz, swing, and the big bands by his music teacher father, he gravitated away from his early heroes (Tommy Dorsey and Urbie Green) and towards Wayne Henderson (Jazz Crusaders), Fred Wesley (James Brown), and James Pankow (Chicago). In those years, it was R&B and soul music that truly caught his fancy.

Bock went on to get Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music, and, after a 19-year career in the Air Force Band program, he settled into a teaching position at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. But the embers of those early loves have continued to smolder over the years, and on this project he has fanned them back into white-hot flame.

Groove is what this CD is all about, from blues to Latin to funk and R&B. Bock has brought together a group of talented jazz, R&B, and soul players from the Pacific Northwest for a high-octane performance of twelve diverse selections. That they did not end up sounding like a camel looks is a tribute to their musicianship and to Bock’s arranging and leadership. In addition, each tune provides a suitable frame in which to showcase his talent as a soloist. Bock’s sound is full and emotive, with little vibrato and more than a hint of burr on occasion; he is facile throughout the instrument’s range.

The opening original pursues a tasty Afro-Cuban groove, with noteworthy ‘bone, alto, and piano solos. The album’s only true jazz standard, Van Heusen’s “I Thought About You,” is intriguingly re- harmonized and taken as a slow, wistful ballad; solos by Bock, Mitchell, and Captien linger in my memory. Leroy Vinnegar’s “Ah Que Linda” nicely demonstrates a West Coast bossa nova beat. These first three tunes are my favorites of the disc.

Mitchell switches to Hammond B3 for “Mrs. Bea,” another original with a funky, New Orleans flavor as pungent as gumbo. “Stanadelic” and “Reflections,” by Dan Brewster, formerly with the band Pleasure, continue in a ‘70s funk groove.

Bock’s arrangement of Thad Jones’ “Sho ‘Nuff Did” impressively spotlights this angular, off-kilter blues; Captien’s bass solo gets things off to a grand start, and Memory makes the most of his trumpet solo. Two more originals, “Gabby’s Getaway” and “Unauthorized Funk,” pay tribute to the Caribbean and James Brown, respectively, the latter with Hammond B3 and electric bass locked in a passionate duel. “Escapee,” which has a “Watermelon Man” feel to it; “Straight, No Chaser,” a creatively arranged doff of the beret to Thelonious Monk; and a Hammond B3 Detroit shuffle entitled “Groovin’ with J.R.” (in memory of Jerome Richards, composer for the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band) bring us to the conclusion of this interesting mélange.


Track Listing: Night Flight from Nairobi; I Thought About You; Ah Que Linda; Ms. Bea Goes to Tea; Stanadelic; Reflections; Sho

Personnel: Stan Bock (trombone, euphonium), Thara Memory (trumpet), Warren Rand (alto sax), Renato Caranto (tenor sax), JatTik Clark (tuba), George Mitchell (piano & organ), Dave Captien (bass & electric bass), Mel Brown (drums), and Caton Lyles (congas)

Title: Night Grooves | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: OA2 Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Roots Of Unity" CD/LP/Track Review Roots Of Unity
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 25, 2017
Read "Sektion 1-2" CD/LP/Track Review Sektion 1-2
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 21, 2016
Read "Black Focus" CD/LP/Track Review Black Focus
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: July 23, 2017
Read "Don't Blink" CD/LP/Track Review Don't Blink
by David A. Orthmann
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Pekka" CD/LP/Track Review Pekka
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "The Art Pepper Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review The Art Pepper Quartet
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: May 7, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.