242

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

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Ted Kooshian's Standard Orbit Quartet: Underdog And Other Stories... 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.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Summit Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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 "More Essentials" CD/LP/Track Review More Essentials
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "This is Life" CD/LP/Track Review This is Life
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "An Eclipse Of Images" CD/LP/Track Review An Eclipse Of Images
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 1, 2016
Read "Up and Coming" CD/LP/Track Review Up and Coming
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 30, 2017
Read "First Set" CD/LP/Track Review First Set
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 29, 2016
Read "Ida Lupino" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Lupino
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 15, 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!