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Court Mast: Sausalito Summer

Jakob Baekgaard By

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There comes a time in life when experience makes it possible for a musician to make a special kind of album, an album that sums up a career while still adding new colors to the musical palette. This is the kind of album that cornet player Court Mast has made with Sausalito Summer, which takes in diverse influences from Brazilian music, light funk, fusion, post-bop and pop, mixing it all together into a homogenous artistic expression.

It has been a while since Court Mast last gave the world a sign of his musical talents. After leading a long life in the musical world, he took a necessary break in 1983, stating the reason as being tired of the business. Now, more than twenty years later, he has rediscovered the love of his life and the result is Sausalito Summer.

Sausalito is the place Mast comes from and the album reflects the sunny origin of the cornetist. Binding all the genres together one encounters on the album is a warm mood, a feeling of joie de vivre that pervades the quiet moments as well as the more up-tempo parts of the album.

From the beautiful, exotic ballad, "Gold Coast," with gentle string flourishes, tinkling piano and whispering flutes to the light funk of "Tam Junction" and the silky "West Wind" that comes across as a Brazilian mixture of Burt Bacharach and Duke Ellington, Mast retains a musical curiosity and tenderness that balances on the right side of sentimentalism.

Helping him out is a solid cast of players, of particular notice are the pianist Sam Grobe-Heintz and tenor saxophonist Scott Petersen, who manage to express the inherent tension in Mast's compositions between lyrical gentleness and swinging world funk.

As a writer, Court Mast is influenced by the idiom of pop. His compositions are relatively short and to the point—there isn't a tune that reaches above the four-minute mark. At the same time, the clear sense of swing, the delicate textures and the exotic rhythms, reveals Mast as writer whose primary genre could only be jazz. What it all adds up to, then, is a music that puts a smile upon the face, celebrating life, rhythm and love in the refined melodies of a musical summer.


Track Listing: Gold Coast; Sausalito Summer (Acoustic); Marling Song; Tam Junction; Bridgeway; West Wind; Lonely Sea; Jib Jive; Highway 1; Cat's Paw; Water Street; Sail Home.

Personnel: Court Mast: cornet/trumpet/programming/keyboards; Tim Wallace: flute; Scott Petersen: tenor sax; Sam Grobe-Heintz: piano; Dave Bell: guitar; Ari Munkres: bass; Kendrick Freeman: drums; Evan Price: violin; Emily Onderdonk: viola; Joe Hebert: cello.

Title: Sausalito Summer | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Jazz Vista

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