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Bassist and composer Morrie Louden makes his album debut with Time Piece, a most impressive collection of all originals. Louden's musical colleagues are a much admired ensemble, including saxophonists Bob Sheppard and Seamus Blake, trumpeter Alex Sipigian, pianist Edward Simon, drummer Adam Nussbaum, guitarist Lionel Leouke and vocalist Gretchen Parlato.
Louden is a Californian who played two other instruments before changing to bass at age eleven. After graduation from DeAnza College, he began to work with well-known pop entertainers including Barbra Streisand and Engelbert Humperdinck. Later, with his own group, he got to work with such jazzmen as saxophonists Ralph Moore, Rick Margitza and Eric Marienthal.
Time Piece turns out be a delightful mix of material, showing his writing skills as well as his chops on the acoustic bass. Three most diverting and enjoyable bossa nova tracks are inserted strategically at about one-third and two-thirds through the album, with the delicious vocal musings of Parlato, the Thelonious Monk Award-jazz singersurprisingly not a Rio de Janeiro native, but a resident of Southern California. Ironically, Louden was able to secure Loueke, one of New York's most in-demand guitarists and an artist who worked with Parlato previously. Her presence on this album not only changes the mood but establishes a new one.
The album begins with "Gypsy's Journey" a balladic composition that actually begins with a classical overlay of violins, viola and cello. The piece features tenor sax solos from Sheppard and Louden. In contrast, "Verbatim" is taken way up-tempo with more solo opportunities for Sheppard, Louden and Simon. "Insensatez," the first of Parlato's appearances, offers not only a change of pace but some outstanding solo work from Sheppard on soprano sax and pianist Mike Eckroth with samba simpatico. "624 Main Street," an up-tempo bop tune, marks the only appearance of tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake and the twelve-minute track allows him a five minute solo.
Trumpeter Alex Sipiagin provides several well-delivered solos and is featured on "Supposition." Latin percussionist Nanny Assis (who also has a new solo album) is used to maximum effect on the album.
Track Listing: Gypsy's Journey; Verbatim; Insensatez; 624 Main Street; Supposition; Time Piece; Tunamo; A Rosa; Mr. Frump; Majique.
Personnel: Morrie Louden: acoustic bass; Adam Nussbaum: drums; Gary Novak: drums; Nanny Assis: percussion; Gretchen Parlato: vocals; Edward Simon: piano; Mike Eckroth: piano; Lionel Loueke: guitar; Bob Sheppard: tenor, soprano sax, flute; Seamus
Blake: tenor sax: Alex Sipiagin: trumpet; Oriente Lopez: flute; Larry Farrell: trombone; George Flynn: bass trombone; Joyce Hamman: violin; Lois Martin: violin; Belinda Whitney: viola; Richard Locker: cello.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.