206

Frank Macchia: Son Of Folk Songs For Jazzers

Edward Blanco By

Sign in to view read count
Composer/arranger Frank Macchia explores twelve more American folk songs and their reinterpretation through jazz on Son of Folk Songs for Jazzers, a follow-up to his critically acclaimed Folk Songs for Jazzers (Cacophony, 2010), for which he received his third Grammy nod in the Best Instrumental Arrangement category. As with the first album, Macchia uses a fourteen-piece ensemble, with many of the same A-list musicians from the Los Angeles area, among them, Wayne Bergeron, Bob Sheppard, Bill Reichenbach and vocalist Tierney Sutton. A talented multi-instrumentalist, here Macchia plays everything from saxophones and flutes to melodica and organ, topping it off with a rough and growl vocal performance on "This Old Man."

Nevertheless, it is his skills as an arranger that help distinguish this effort, taking this concept album a step further with creative new arrangements that disguise, modify and shine new light on traditional folk songs transformed into vessels of jazz. The familiar children's nursery rhyme, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," begins as a lush ballad which morphs into a Latin-style opus featuring a variety of solos from the majority of band. Vocalist Ellis Hall employs a bluesy approach on "Careless Love," an old traditional folk song that guitarist Grant Geissman plays like a rock star.

A perfect example of the leader's arrangement prowess is drawn from the well-known "Three Blind Mice," form which Macchia extracts two different versions for this date: the first, "Three Jazzy Blind Mice," is a traditional contemporary jazz rendition featuring pianist Tom Ranier; the second, "Three Cool Blind Mice," sounds much like a mid-tempo cool swing, with a little brass and more of Geissman's guitar magic. "Itsy Bitsy Spider," a simple eight-bar nursery school favorite, turns out to be the album's most complicated arrangement—a challenging rendition that makes the basic melody hard to discern but pleasant to hear, and a highlight of the disc.

The American folk ballad "Silver Dagger" is given a new treatment, re-harmonized using woodwinds and baritone horns to back up Sutton's lovely lush vocal performance. The big band sound is alive and well on the swinging "Cindy/Li'l Liza Jane," while trombonist Alex Iles is showcased on the down-tempo ballad "Billy Boy." Baritone saxophonist Jay Mason and trombonist Kevin Porter are featured on "Frankie and Johnny," one of the pillars of this recording. Incidentally, a printing error on the packaging displays these two tracks in reverse order.

Macchia's idea of reinterpreting folk music through jazz—with the sheer number of songs to work with—felt somewhat incomplete after one album giving birth to Son of Folk Songs for Jazzers, completing the musician's goal of providing a new appreciation of this music, from a jazz perspective.

Track Listing: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; Careless Love; Three Jazzy Blind Mice; Itsy Bitsy Spider; Work Songs Medley; Silver Dagger; Three Cool Blind Mice; Cindy/Li'l Liza Jane; Billie Boy; Frankie and Johnny; This Old Man; The Boating Medley.

Personnel: Valerie King: piccolo, flute, bass flute; Sal Lozano: alto sax, alto flute, bass flute, clarinet, contra alto clarinet; Bob Shepard: soprano sax, tenor sax, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet; Frank Macchia: tenor sax,flute, bass flute, clarinet, alto clarinet contra bass clarinet, melodica, organ, vocal (11); Jay Mason: baritone sax; soprano sax, bass flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, contra bass clarinet, English horn; Wayne Bergeron: trumpet, flugelhorn; Alex Iles: trombone, baritone horn; Kevin Poter: trombone, bass trombone, baritone horn; Bil Reichenbach: trombone, baritone horn,bass trumpet, tuba; Tom Ranier: piano; Gram Geissman:: electric guitar: Trey Henry: bass; Peter Erskine: drums, motivation; Michael Hatfield: vibraphone, bass marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, tamborine, shaker; Tierney Sutton: vocal (6); Ellis Hall: vocal (2).

Title: Son Of Folk Songs For Jazzers | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Cacophony

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Piglets Bouncing On A Trampoline

Piglets Bouncing On A Trampoline

Frank Macchia
Rhythm Kaleidoscope

I'm So Damn Mad!

I'm So Damn Mad!

Frank Macchia
Grease Mechanix

Discombobulated

Discombobulated

Frank Macchia
Frank Macchia's Swamp Thang

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Frank Macchia
Son of Folk Songs for Jazzers

I've Been Working on the Railroad

I've Been Working on the Railroad

Frank Macchia
Folk Songs For Jazzers

Air Mail Special

Air Mail Special

Frank Macchia
Saxolollapalooza

Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

Way Down Yonder In New Orleans

Frank Macchia
Landscapes

Album Reviews
What I'm Listening to Now
Take Five With...
Album Reviews
Read more articles

Related Articles

Read New Year Album Reviews
New Year
By Dan Bilawsky
July 17, 2019
Read Confluence Album Reviews
Confluence
By Karl Ackermann
July 17, 2019
Read Shafted Album Reviews
Shafted
By Edward Blanco
July 17, 2019
Read Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club
By Don Phipps
July 17, 2019
Read Confluence Album Reviews
Confluence
By Dan McClenaghan
July 16, 2019
Read Movimenti Album Reviews
Movimenti
By Geno Thackara
July 16, 2019
Read A New Home Album Reviews
A New Home
By Mark Corroto
July 16, 2019