Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

242

Ted Kooshian's Standard Orbit Quartet: Underdog And Other Stories...

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Ignore the fact that pianist Ted Kooshian regularly covers cartoon and TV music in his quartet and what's left is an appreciation for music that swings exceptionally hard, and a passion for each tune that is anything but "animated."

Kooshian's Standard Orbit Quartet has produced its second volume of music, Underdog And Other Stories..., following a self-titled release from 2008 that contained covers of The Simpsons' theme, Batman, Top Cat, and the music of Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, and Sting.

But these are not covers, as in the ostentatious music of The Bad Plus, with its tendency towards a gaudy and over-the-top approach to music. Kooshian's vision is the same as Miles Davis or John Coltrane when they covered popular music of the 1950s or Broadway hits. In fact, here's an experiment: find a 20 or 30-something jazz fan and play him the theme from 1970s TV show Baretta, with soprano saxophonist Jeff Lederer playing remarkably in the vein of Coltrane on the infamous "My Favorite Things." Knowing nothing of TV history, the 20-something will admire the song's deft and dexterous manner, without ever thinking, "don't do the crime, if you can't do the time."

The music just happens to be music ingrained into baby-boomers' cerebral cortexes. And, familiarity is a fantastic starting point.

Kooshian is a regular in the New York jazz and Broadway scene, and holds the piano chair in the Ed Palmero Big Band, which plays covers of Frank Zappa music. His arrangements here are quite inventive—"Underdog" gets an Afro-Cuban flavor and TV's "Wild Wild West" proceeds as a blustery blues, pitting Kooshian's gospel piano against Lederer's howling tenor saxophone.

Within the same vein of TV music, the band covers Steely Dan's "Aja," Henry Mancini's "Breakfast At Tiffany's," and Duke Ellington's "Purple Gazelle," all fodder for a polished quartet to showcase. They slow down Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse" to a crawl—maybe a comment on our economic crisis—until Kooshian plays a two-fisted stride piano version of amphetamine jazz, reigniting the cartoon classic and reminding everyone that before Carl Stalling, Raymond Scott was a jazz star.

Don't be fooled by the cartoon and TV references; this is one solid jazz record.

Track Listing: Underdog; Aja; Time Was; Sanford and Son; Popeye; Theme from Baretta; Wild Wild West; Purple Gazelle; God Give Me Strength; The Odd Couple.

Personnel: Ted Kooshian: piano; Jeff Lederer: saxophones, slide whistle; Tom Hubbard: bass; Warren Odze: drums, percussion; Scott Neumann: drums, percussion.

Title: Underdog And Other Stories... | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Summit Records

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.

Related Articles

Read Day to Day Album Reviews
Day to Day
By Paul Naser
May 24, 2019
Read Theia Album Reviews
Theia
By Jim Worsley
May 24, 2019
Read Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You Album Reviews
Ain't Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You
By Dan McClenaghan
May 24, 2019
Read Nexus Album Reviews
Nexus
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
Luminária
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019