194

Cochemea Gastelum: The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
Cochemea Gastelum: The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow Its title giving a nod to his Native American roots, The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow is the debut album from Brooklyn-based saxophonist Cochemea Gastelum. A touring member of Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, and a recurring saxophonist in the original band for the Broadway musical Fela!, Gastelum here pays tribute to some of his soul and Afrobeat heroes—including Fela Anikulapo-Kuti & Afrika 70 baritone player Lekan Animashaun and tenor players Igo Chiko and Christopher Uwaifor, and—above all—electric saxophonist Eddie Harris, an early master of jazz/r&b/soul groove music. Other explicit influences include War and Ethiopian composer/bandleader Mulatu Astatqe. The 10 track album—on which each track comes in, retro style, at about three and half minutes—is one mighty chunk of fun.



On the opener, "Dark City," Gastelum pays his propers to Kuti and Astatqe, both of whom are echoed in the majestic, long-form horn lines which carry the tune. He overdubs tenor and baritone, not to mention flute, organ and percussion, and delivers a steaming solo on the bigger horn. From here on in, the music is more resonant of War, in its throbbing, percussion-rich grooves, and Harris' electric saxophone, which Gastelum plays on six tracks. Tempos are mostly up and solos are mostly hot, but Gastelum also adds cool-breeze flute to a few tunes and there are two dreamy, soulful ballads, "You're So Good To Me" and "No Goodbyes." All the compositions are Gastelum originals or collaborations.



Gastelum could probably have played all the instruments heard here if he chose to—in addition to the aforementioned he also plays Fender Rhodes, clavinet, ARP String Ensemble, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, vibraphone and piano—but he's surrounded himself with a bunch of ace groove adepts including trumpeter Eric Biondo and a rolling cast of guitarists, bass players, percussionists and drummers (including, on "Fathom 5," Joe Russo). His own gutsy bass clarinet puts a nice spin on "Fathom 5," which is otherwise redolent of chill-out scene music from 1970s blaxploitation movies. And still the tributes come. "Impala '73" is heavy boogaloo and "Beijo Do Sol" evokes Hawaiian-tinged exotica.



The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow benefits from the presence of Adam Dorn (aka Mocean Worker) as producer, who has welded the episodic nature of the program and its diverse cultural references into a seamless whole. Irresistible.



(There aren't, by the way, any accessible video clips out there which reflect Gastelum's music on this album. His MySpace page includes a short clip of him onstage with tenor saxophonist Archie Shepp; which is a groove thing in itself, but Gastelum is heard only in the background and appears onscreen for only a few seconds [far right at around 00:46]. The YouTube clip below is disappointingly one-dimensional when compared with The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow, but it does convey Gastelum's technical facility on the alto).


Track Listing: Tracks: Dark City; Arrow's Theme; Carlito!; You're So Good To Me; Guardian Angel; Impala '73; Fathom 5; No Goodbyes; Beijo Do Sol; Stars.

Personnel: Personnel: Cochemea Gastelum: electric saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, alto saxophone, flute, bass clarinet, organ, piano, Fender Rhodes, clavinet, vibraphone, string ensemble, drums, percussion; Eric Biondo: trumpet (1, 3, 4); David Guy: trumpet (2, 8); Dave Smith: trombone (4); Thomas Brenneck: drums (2), guitar (2, 10), bass guitar (1, 8); Al Street: guitar (4, 8); Brian Jordan: guitar: (5); Mark Donovan: guitar (7); Mike Deller: piano (3); Adam Scone: organ (8); Mocean Walker: bass (2-5); Chris Stillwell: bass (6); Justin Wallace: bass (7); Keith Witty: bass (9); Neil Ochoa: drums and percussion (1), timbales (3); Zak Najor: drums (3, 10); Eric Kalb: drums (4, 8); Joe Russo: drums (7); Elizabeth Pupo-Walker: congas (1, 3, 7), cajon (6).

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: MOWO! Inc. | Style: Funk/Groove


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Live At Umbria Jazz" CD/LP/Track Review Live At Umbria Jazz
by James Nadal
Published: March 9, 2016
Read "The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" CD/LP/Track Review The Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by John Sharpe
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Goran Ivanovic Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Goran Ivanovic Trio
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 1, 2016
Read "Stephan Crump's Rhombal" CD/LP/Track Review Stephan Crump's Rhombal
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "2016" CD/LP/Track Review 2016
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 13, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!

Buy it!