The title of this album, according to leader/woodwind specialist Carol Sudhalter, refers to the fact that each of its thirteen tunes begins on the interval of an octave. Ten of The Octave Tunes' songs are standards, including a pair of holiday favorites, "Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" and "The Christmas Song." Of the three originals, two were written by Sudhalter's guests, organist Vito Di Modugno ("Pancake Blues") and precocious teen-age pianist Carlo Barile ("Cheeseburger Blue"), who accompanies Sudhalter on four charming duets, three showcasing her dancing flute, the other ("Over the Rainbow") her gravelly baritone sax.
Sudhalter raises the baritone again on "Cheeseburger Blue," plays tenor on "Pancake Blues," "Crazy He Calls Me" and "The Christmas Song," and sits out on two numbers"You Go to My Head" (vocal by Marti Mabin} and Duke Ellington's "Daydream" (solo organ by Modugno). Mabin is the vocalist on "Crazy He Calls Me" and "The Christmas Song," Elena Camerin on the saucy samba "Quisiera Ser" (color added by trumpeter Charlie Franklin and percussionist Bobby Viteri). Sudhalter's flute is front and center again on "Nature Boy," "Quisiera Ser" and "It's Only a Paper Moon."
Everything is well-played, and the album atones in variety for what it may lack in resourcefulness. Sudhalter is proficient on every axe, and the supporting cast is admirable, especially Barile and Modugno, who are among several Italians in the crew (the album was released on Rome's Alfa Music label). Those who haven't heard Sudhalter are sure to be pleasantly surprised, and may be inspired to seek out her splendid big-band album, Last Train to Astoria (Self Produced, 2002).
Track Listing: Flamingo; Pancake Blues; You Go to My Head; Alice in Wonderland; Nature Boy; Quisiera Ser; Daydream; Cheeseburger Blue; Over the Rainbow; It's Only a Paper Moon; Crazy He Calls Me; Let It Snow! Let It Snow!; The Christmas Song.
Personnel: Carol Sudhalter: leader, flute (1, 4-6, 10, 12), tenor sax (2, 11, 13), baritone sax (3, 8, 9); Charlie Franklin: trumpet (6); Carlo Barile: piano (1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12); Joe Vincent Tranchina: piano (5, 10); Antonio Cervellino: bass (1, 3-6, 8, 10); Roberto Pistolesi: drums (3, 8); Kaori Yamada: drums (2, 10, 11); Marti Mabin: vocals (3, 11, 13); Elena Camerin: vocals (6); Vito Di Modugno: Hammond organ (2, 7, 11, 13).